It feels like the Texas Legislative Session just started, but we are already pushing up on strict legislative deadlines.  Many bills felt fast tracked only to linger on a committee vote, or worse, waiting on a committee report to get sent to Calendars.  Even if your bill has made it to Calendars, it may remain to be set for consideration.  If it is contested, there may be somebody like me ready to recommit it on a point of order.  The simple fact is, time is running short and if you don’t pass your legislative changes now, you will have to wait two years to try again.

Fret not.  Your bill may be dead or dying, but the bill number doesn’t matter.  The statutory changes do and there are ample ways to get where you need to go.

Welcome to Legislative Hitchhiking 101.

It happens every session.  As bills start to die on the calendar, lobbyists and legislators seek out moving bills to attach their legislation. More often than not, these efforts begin in earnest sometime after the second week of May.  Folks seek out so called “Christmas trees” that they can add their bill to as an ornament.  Unfortunately, this strategy seldom works.  Germaneness or two subject rule, is the most commonly sustained point of order in the Texas House.  The Christmas tree is a last gasp effort.

Fortunately, there is likely a bill that you can hitchhike on if you know what to look for.

The two subject rule is fairly straight forward.  A bill must be limited to a single subject.  Any amendments to that bill must be on the subject.  Questions arise regarding what is the subject.  The commonly used refrain is that you need three changes in a general area to create an omnibus Christmas tree.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The best way to think about the two subject rule is to think about an umbrella.  A closed umbrella is a single purpose bill.  It is narrow and if you want your amendment to fall under its protection, it must be covered by the closed umbrella.  An open umbrella is a bill that touches on a number of interrelated subjects.  Each prong reaches out to another prong and that prong reaches out to another.  If you can find your way beneath the prongs, you are germane and do not violate the two subject rule.

There are few folks that understand these rules.  There are even fewer that know how to find the right vehicle to hitchhike your bill to.

We have successfully found vehicles to hitchhike dead and dying bills to for over a decade.  We are here to help.  Don’t wait another two years.  Let us help you today.