Summer's Over – Perry Calls Lawmakers Back to Austin

Special session called for July 1

Gov. Rick Perry is calling Texas lawmakers back to Austin for a special session to try again to pass legislation that will keep major state agencies running.

Perry announced Thursday that he's ordering a special legislative session July 1.

"The 81st Legislative Session was one of the most successful in recent memory, providing a tax cut to 40,000 small businesses and increasing financial aid for college students by more than 40 percent, all without touching our states Rainy Day Fund," Perry said. "After speaking with legislators I am calling a special session to extend the operation of five critical agencies and help reduce gridlock by continuing to provide options for financing our state’s highways."

The Legislature adjourned June 1 without passing a safety net measure that would allow agencies such as the transportation and insurance departments to keep operating. The departments would be shuttered by Sept. 1, 2010, without the legal authority to continue.

Lawmakers also failed to approve legislation allowing for the issuance of $2 billion in road-building bonds that many lawmakers wanted.

The special session will consider the following issues:

•Legislation extending the existence of five state agencies that were subject to sunset review by the 81st Legislature that would otherwise be abolished without legislative action, and to change the review schedule for certain state agencies to balance the Sunset Advisory Commission’s workload. These agencies include the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Department of Insurance, Texas Racing Commission, Office of Public Insurance Counsel and Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation.

•Legislation allowing the Texas Department of Transportation to issue general obligation bonds, which have already been approved by voters, for highway improvement projects, and for the creation, administration, financing and use of a Texas Transportation Revolving Fund to provide financial assistance for transportation projects.

•Legislation extending the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation and a regional mobility authority to use comprehensive development agreements to design, finance, build and maintain transportation infrastructure.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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