4:45 p.m. TUESDAY, JULY 30: Gov. Rick Perry just released this statement through his spokesperson.
“When it comes to transportation, the stakes facing our state could not be higher, and a failure to act now could take years – if not most of a decade – to correct, as traffic congestion increases and harms our quality of life. A plan was on the table that would have taken a significant step toward improving our roads and highways using existing revenue. Inaction is a Washington-style attempt to kick a can down the road – but everybody in Texas knows we’re rapidly running out of roads to kick that can down. For those reasons, I’m calling the Legislature back into another special session immediately.”
by AMAN BATHEJA
3:45 p.m. TUESDAY, JULY 30: Standing before mostly empty chairs in the 150-member Texas House on Tuesday, House Speaker Joe Straus adjourned the second special session and announced that Gov. Rick Perry would be calling them all back for a third special session later in the day.
After gaveling in the House at 2:36 p.m., Straus briefly thanked members for their time and hard work during the second special session before acknowledging Perry would probably call a third special session 30 minutes after both chambers had officially adjourned the second special session.
“See you in 30 minutes,” he quipped, telling the few dozen House members in the Capitol to stick around for the opening of the third session. The Senate also adjourned sine die on Tuesday.
An aide to Perry confirmed that the governor plans to call a third special session shortly.
The Senate convened briefly Tuesday afternoon and then quickly went into a “caucus of the whole” in which the full body meets in a room to speak privately. Before the start of the caucus, Senate Transportation Chairman Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, said he had the 21 Senate votes needed to pass House Joint Resolution 2, one of the two pieces of legislation that make up the transportation funding measure lawmakers have been trying to pass for weeks. The House voted down HJR 2 Tuesday, so a possible Senate vote would likely be symbolic.
About 40 minutes later, after the House adjourned sine die, the Senate reconvened and Dewhurst announced that there would be no vote on HJR 2.
“It’s my understanding that the governor is going to call us back in in a few minutes and I have some comments on that when we’re brought back in,” Dewhurst said. He thanked senators for their hard work.
“It’s been fun but I’ll see you soon,” Dewhurst said, echoing his last words before the end of the first special session. He then adjourned the Senate.
This is the second special session in which lawmakers have tried and failed to pass a transportation funding measure. Lawmakers were already discussing what issues Perry might add to the agenda of a third special session.
Perry expressed his dissatisfaction with the House on Monday evening, after the chamber voted down HJR 2 84-40. The measure needed 100 votes to pass. Straus and state Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, urged Perry not to call members back for a third special session right away.
AMAN BATHEJA reports for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.Email | Print