Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gov. Perry To Order Special Session Of Legislature

KXAN Austin News in Austin is tweeting that Governor Perry will call a special session to deal with unfinished legislation! Perry is not saying what's on the agenda for special session... nor when it will begin.

My speculation on the unfinished legislation is that the Texas Department of Insurance, the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, the Department of Transportation, the Racing Commission and the Texas State Affordable Housing Corp. were due for "sunset review," during the 2009 legislative session - but the legislature didn't get around to it before adjourning on June 1st.
"Sunset review" is the process by which state agencies are reviewed every 12 years. If lawmakers do not pass bills to renew charters to keep agencies operating over the next 12 year period, they are automatically ordered to close down over the next year.
The Republican controlled legislature did not manage to get to the business of "state agency sunset review," and so, did not renew the charter on these 5 agencies. These agencies are now automatically ordered to close down by Sept. 1, 2010, under the Texas "sunset law."

Some reaction from lawmakers:

State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth: If the special session is to address critical issues such as agency sunset measures, “The sooner the better," he said. "But if this is for his right-wing ideological agenda, then he’s using state money for his campaign purposes and that’s wrong.”

Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth: “The Sunset Commission staff is recommending that we need to do it soon,” he said. “Let’s do it now, rather than later on down the road. Having it after the primary would look like it’s being timed and held for political reasons. I don’t think that would be a good idea.” He said he hoped the session would be devoted just to the issues involving those state agencies now in limbo. “It would be absolutely horrible, bad timing, if we were to go back and do something as divisive as the voter suppression bill. Bringing that bill up would be the worst move he could make.”

Read more. . .

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