By Jack Fink

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The political blame game in Austin is heating up following the dramatic end of the regular Texas legislative session when House Democrats walked out, preventing some priority bills for Republicans from passing.

One of bills that died was SB 7, the election integrity bill.

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On Sunday night, after the House failed to reach quorum, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick stood before the Senate and criticized the House.

On Monday afternoon, Patrick told CBS 11 News that House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, failed to keep his legislative calendar on track. “I’m in charge of the calendar in the Senate and the Speaker is in charge of the calendar in the House. And when again, when you take Friday and Saturday off, as he did last week, and let the members go home, that meant they lost a lot of time on the clock.”

On Thursday, Phelan said Patrick was wrong. “Not a single bill languished in the House because we weren’t there those two days. So that’s categorically false.”

Phelan said the House passed its version of the bill on May 17, two weeks before the session ended, but that the Senate chose to form a conference committee and didn’t have it ready until two days before the session ended.

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Phelan said, “It had flaws all throughout. We found over 12 points of order. They realized we had to revise the bill. We finally found that conference bill in our in our chamber at 4:40 p.m. Saturday. The rule is that you cannot take it up until 24 hours after you file it. So we got it late. We found it at 4:41 p.m. on Saturday. That means it was not eligible until 4:41p.m. Sunday, the last day to consider the bills. So the reason it was on that Sunday calendar is not the House’s fault.”

One new provision in the conference committee report was that early voting on Sunday couldn’t begin before 1 p.m., and Democrats said that targeted what African American voters call “Souls to the Polls,” an effort for people to go vote after attending Sunday church services.

Phelan said it was a mistake. “The House members were told it was going to be 11 a.m. So when we came back out, it was 1 p.m., and it was too late to fix that.”

The Speaker said House members are already working on an elections integrity bill to prepare for whenever Gov. Greg Abbott calls lawmakers back for a special session.

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