This Week in Texas: Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Posted June 15, 2011 in The Mignon Memo

As the special session reaches its halfway mark, several of the major bills are in conference committee and others are moving through the second house of the legislature. Senate Bill 7, the bill relating to the administration, quality, and efficiency of health care, health and human services, and health benefits programs has been referred to a conference committee as well as Senate Bills 1 and 2, the major state fiscal matters bills. The House will also take up four bills relating to public education. These bills relate to class size and the terms of teacher contracts. Senate Bill 4, the congressional redistricting bill, has passed the Senate and the House. The House will take up House Bill 3 relating to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) today while the Senate has passed Senate Bill 9, legislation related to “sanctuary cities” and the issuance of driver’s licenses. Several other education and health related bills are moving through the process as well. The 30 days in this special session are up on June 29th. If these bills are not on their way to Governor Perry’s desk by then, he may be forced to call another special session.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new Texas law to require pre-abortion sonograms. The class-action lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Austin, says the law improperly forces doctors to deliver government-mandated speech by requiring them to verbally describe fetal features revealed by the sonogram. House Bill 15 was passed during the regular legislative session and signed by Governor Perry on May 19th.