Special Legislative Session Begins Wednesday

Texas legislators do some make up work

Special sessions in Texas aren’t that special -- there’ve been seven since Rick Perry took office.

Though Perry has promised that this one will be short, that sounds like exactly the kind of thing that your boss says to get people to not drag their feet to a meeting of indeterminable length.

The legislators have several sizable issues on their hands to be getting to vacation so quickly. First of all, they have to issue $2 billion in bonding authority to TxDOT that the House adjourned without passing. However, the Senate also prematurely adjourned without approving a measure to extend the sunset dates of TxDOT and TDI.

However, some are worrying that the quick special session could mean some sketchy quick bill passing.

A resurrected Sen. John Carona bill, SB 1, would set up a Transportation Bank as a private corporation to dip into teacher retirement funds and public employee pension funds to invest in toll roads.

Another agenda item is to authorize more agreements to allow private development and operation of toll roads.

“Concerned citizens are hopping mad about lawmakers' rush to get home for the 4th of July holiday rather than give due consideration to what some have dubbed the largest tax increase in Texas history, selling Texas highways to PRIVATE foreign corporations that charge 75 cents PER MILE in new toll taxes to access PUBLIC roads,” said a press release from Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom.

Sen. Eliot Shapleigh has also urged Gov. Perry, who ultimately sets the agenda for the session, to include CHIP in the call, which would expand insurance coverage for children.

“One in six uninsured children in the nation live in Texas. Both the Senate and the House passed versions of CHIP by wide margins, the money was placed in the budget, now it’s time for Rick Perry to take responsibility and put CHIP in the call for the special session,” Sen. Shapleigh said in a press conference yesterday. 

Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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