Just after the start of the third special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature, Speaker of the House Rep. Joe Straus of San Antonio excused over 35 members because of pressing business in their individual districts.
A transportation bill that passed the Senate this week will require 100 votes in the House in order to pass, but the missing members will likely keep the bill from getting enough votes to pass.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said the missing lawmakers need to do the work of the people or leave office and the author of one of the transportation bills up this session, Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, called the absences a "dereliction of duty."
"The members ran for those offices to have an opportunity to represent their district and the state on important issues, and they have a responsibility to take care of the actions that are important to the state for their people," Nichols said.
Straus called the transportation bill a "Band-Aid over a pothole," but Nichols said his bill is a billion-dollar-a-year bandage that would fix a lot of roads.