Sen. Mario Gallegos is headed back to Houston for a surgical procedure and is not sure whether he will return to Austin for the remainder of the session, according to his spokesman Harold Cook.
Gallegos, who received a liver transplant earlier this year, has missed a good part of the session. But he has been in Austin for the last couple of weeks, against his doctor's wishes.
"His time is up,'' Cook said.
Gallegos' absence leaves an opening for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to bring up the contentious voter ID bill, which brought the Senate to a standstill this week.
Without all 11 Democratic Senators on the floor, Republicans have the minimum votes needed to start debate.
When I asked Dewhurst whether he would bring the bill up again, he said, "I haven't had a moment to think about it. We can only fight two or three things at once.''
Gallegos met with the Republican caucus and asked them to respect his attempts to be here on behalf of his constituents, Cook said.
"He has fought the good fight on this," Cook said.