This Week in Texas: Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Posted May 31, 2011 in The Mignon Memo

The 82nd regular session of the Texas Legislature ended on a somewhat unsatisfactory note. As the clock reached midnight on Sunday evening, both the House and the Senate had failed to pass major legislation needed to balance the budget for the next biennium. The failure to pass a bill related to state fiscal matters, Senate Bill 1811, as well as Senate Bill 23, a bill related to the state Medicaid program, led Governor Rick Perry to call a special session beginning today at 8:00am. Follow this link to see the text of his proclamation:

Here is a quick recap of how a special session works. The governor is the only person with the authority to call a special session and he is the one who decides what issues will be addressed. This list of issues is generally contained in a proclamation and referred to as “the call”. Legislators can file bills on any subject they wish but only those on the call can be finally passed and signed into law. The governor can expand the call at any time during a special session. At the end of 30 days, the session ends and anything left undone must go back to the starting line where it begins the process anew. Follow this link to the Texas Legislative Reference Library for more information about special sessions:

Former Texas Governor Bill Clements passed away Sunday. Clements was 94 at the time of his death. In 1978 he became Texas’ first Republican governor since Reconstruction. He served two terms as governor.