This Week in Texas: July 31, 2013

Posted July 31, 2013 in The Mignon Memo

The Texas Legislature adjourned the Second Called Session sine die on July 30, 2013 after failing to adopt legislation to increase funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure are ongoing. Citing this failure, Gov. Rick Perry called a Third Called Session to begin at 4:30pm on July 30.  The call includes only legislation to increase funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure but rumors indicate that other issues may be added if a deal on transportation is reached.  The Texas Senate took
immediate action, passing Senate Bill 1 and Senate Joint Resolution.  This legislation, identical to House Bill 16 and House Joint Resolution 2 from the Second Called Session, will be used as a starting point for negotiations.  Speaker Straus appointed a Select Committee on Transportation Funding to consider legislation during this called session. That committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, August 1.  Both the House and Senate will reconvene in floor sessions on Monday, August 4.

As noted above, Speaker Joe Straus appointed seven House members to the House Select Committee on Transportation Funding.  The Committee will be chaired by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman).  Other members include Rep. Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite); Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Ft. Worth); Rep. Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving); Rep. Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi); Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (D-Mission); and Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston).

While these special sessions continue, many Texans wonder if state legislators can accept campaign contributions while participating in a special session. The answer is yes.  The moratorium on contributions during a legislative session only applies to a regular session and the veto period following the regular session.  Legislators, statewide officeholders and candidates for those positions are required to file special session reports including all contributions accepted during each special session.  These reports must be filed no later than the 30th day following final adjournment of each special session. The special session report for the First Called Session was due July 25, 2103 and the report for the Second Called Session will be due no later than August 29, 2013.  If no contributions were accepted during the reporting period, no report is filed.