They also used last-minute stalling tactics to successfully kill two other bills in the House that had been priorities for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the presiding officer in the Senate who later criticized his Republican colleagues in the House for not working hard enough.
When the speaker of the House, State Representative Dade Phelan, was stopped at an entrance to the Senate last month because he lacked a required wristband showing he had a negative coronavirus test, it started an intraparty debate over whether he was denied entry to the chamber. The incident only heightened the perception that the two Republican-led chambers that Democrats accused of advancing such a divisive conservative agenda were themselves divided.
“There’s always some level of factions just because we’re like any family,” said Mr. Murphy, the Republican caucus chairman. “There’s the ones that have cheese pizza and those who want pepperoni. But we’re all going to sit down for dinner.”
It has been decades since Molly Ivins, a sharp-witted liberal writer known for mocking the political status quo, famously called the Legislature “the finest free entertainment in Texas.”