The 85th Texas Legislature will be remembered as the point when Republican leaders clashed publicly like no time in recent memory, fisticuffs broke out on the House floor, and major legislation was intentionally scuttled - culminating in the governor calling a July special legislative session to complete unfinished business.
Republican tension has been building over the past few sessions. On one side are "moderate Republicans," those who are fiscally and socially conservative but also focused on mainstream pro-business priorities. On the other side are "movement Republicans," a growing populist faction often more motivated by small-government orthodoxy and social conservatism.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick served as legislative leader of the movement Republicans, unveiling an ambitious list of 30 conservative agenda items. And a Senate dominated by like-minded legislators promptly passed and sent such bill on to the House.