The regular session of the 83rd Legislature ended on Monday, May 27! But now, we have the opportunity to see everyone again since Governor Perry called an immediate special session of the Legislature. It began Monday, May 27 at 6:00 pm. A special session can last up to 30 days but does not have to last the entire 30 days. Light a candle for us all. The issue, thus far, for the special session is redistricting maps for the Texas House, Texas Senate and Congressional districts. Public hearings will occur this week for both chambers.
Please remember that Governor Perry has until June 16 to sign or veto bills from the regular session. Here’s a link to Texas Legislature Online where you can check the status of specific bills: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/
During the 83rd Regular Session, legislators passed a $196 billion budget for the next biennium, reformed education, and increased funding for the state’s water infrastructure. Missing from the list of accomplishments this time – additional funding for transportation infrastructure. The Texas Legislature used $4 billion from the state’s rainy day fund undo a school payment delay used as an accounting maneuver, pay for wildfire costs, allow help for the City of West after its fertilizer-plant explosion and put $2 billion into water. That leaves roughly $8 billion remaining in the rainy day fund.
Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) was named Freshman Republican of the 83rd Session and Rep. Alfonso “Poncho” Nevarez (D-Eagle Pass) was named Freshman Democrat of the 83rd Session.
Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) announced that he will not run for reelection in House District 23. Eiland has served in the Texas House since 1994.
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Julia Rathgeber of Austin as the new state insurance commissioner. Rathgeber, former deputy chief of staff for Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, will replace Eleanor Kitzman who was forced to give up the post after failing to win Senate support for her confirmation during the 2013 legislative session.