Primer on the Texas Special Session

Posted on June 2, 2011. Filed under: Activism, Conservative, government, Politics, Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Texas has moved  into the special session now, primarily to focus on the budget completion.  So many emails, blogs, articles have appeared with partial information and misinformation, an overview of the special session was in order.  I’ve put together a few facts to help all of us as we monitor/engage with our state reps and state senators on specific bills.

The Governor of Texas issued a proclamation which announces the special session timeframe, and also defines the primary focus of this session.  To add other bills outside of this focus, will require the agreement of the Governor.  The legislature may ask for particular bills to be added that are outside the original scope of the proclamation.  It is important to reach out to your state representatives and state senators to let them know if there is a specific bill of importance to you.  The legislature (specifically Straus and Dewhurst as management) can make a request to the Governor for new agenda items for the special session.   Further to this point, you can see the letter request from Dewhurst to the Governor here: http://americansforprosperity.org/053011-lt-gov-sends-letter-gov-perry-regarding-special-session-issues . The text of the proclamation can be found here: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/govdocs/Rick%20Perry/2011/proc053011.pdf  The Governor outlined the specifics he wanted dealt with in this session.   The primary focus must be on the budget and budget related items.  The schools, in particular, must see the approved budget as soon as possible, to prepare for the coming year. 

The majority of the proposed bills fall within the purvue of the proclamation, or have been approved additions by the Governor.  Other than fiscal related bills, the Healthcare Compact has been added to the tasklist, per the Governor’s request.   Another one which is not yet approved for this session, but is filed, pertains to sanctuary cities.   There are many great bills which could be added, but the time constraints and efficient use of taxpayer dollars is of utmost importance.

Several groups/individuals have urged Texans to barrage the governor and ask for specific bills to be filed.  After reading some of these published lists, it was clear that many of the listed bills in the emails/articles  were already filed for the special session.  Because the bill offerings for consideration are growing, it is best to run the report yourself for the most accurate data.  To view the filings to date, please go to the Texas State Legislative website  http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx .  Select Bill Search.  Be sure to select this session:  82 (1) -2011 from the drop down choices.  On the right hand side of the page you will see a large box that says select action criteria.  Click on this.  Choose Filed (H001) .  Click on the arrow pointing to the blank box directly opposite the list of actions.  Repeat this process and choose Filed (S001).  Now go to the bottom of the page and input a beginning date of 5/30/2011 (do this by clicking on the small calendar icon).  Choose an end date of the current date.  Go back to the top righthand side of the page and click search.   This will give you a current list of proposed bills.  It does not tell you which ones are approved by the Governor, but actions are posted immediately as they occur.

For further information about special sessions, go to this link:  http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/whatsNew/client/index.cfm/2011/5/31/Special-Session-FAQs

What is clear about these massive efforts, is that many well meaning people are spinning cycles without complete information.   If conservatives want to succeed, the time should be spent on solid research prior to “firing from the hip”.   A plan with inadequate data will likely yield inadequate results.  -Just an opinion.

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