Posts Tagged ‘special session’

Senator Wendy Davis

Texas State Senator greeted enthusiastically by the crowds. by Karen Hadden

An estimated 5,000 demonstrators descended on the Texas Capitol today, with the majority expressing their opposition to new abortion restrictions that a Democratic filibuster led by state Senator Wendy Davis and raucous protests outside and inside the capitol derailed last week.

Today, Texas lawmakers convened a second special legislative session aimed at reviving the bill that would limit where, when and how women may obtain abortions in the state. Supporters say it will protect women’s health, while opponents say it is designed to shutter the majority of the state’s abortion clinics. Whatever is said about this law, the GOP dominated legislature is determined to pass it during this special session.

The session is also supposed to deal with a constitutional amendment for new highway funding and a juvenile justice measure that refines a no-parole provision for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer that outlawed such sentencing schemes.

A special session costs taxpayers more than $800,000. Each lawmaker is given a $150 per diem to cover food and living expenses per day during a regular or special session. The longer a special session goes, the more money will be spent. If the second special session takes a full 30 days, Texans could be paying legislators nearly $1.6 million.  But the leadership has indicated that they are confident this session will not last the full 30 days as they railroad these three measures through.


Hearing tomorrow
That being said, the house just posted a notice of public hearing to hear testimony on HB 2 by Representative Jodie Laubenberg – (District 89 R-Parker), Relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers and facilities. The hearing is scheduled in front of the House State Affairs Committee in the Capitol Extension room E2.030 at 3:30 pm tomorrow, Tuesday, July 2nd.

The committee will receive testimony upon convening, until 12:01 a.m., July 3, 2013, and witnesses will be given 3 minutes for oral testimony. Written testimony is encouraged and appreciated.  If you would like to provide the committee with written testimony, please bring 15 copies.

The committee will be using the electronic witness affirmation system developed for the regular 83rd legislative session, and is available at registration kiosks located throughout the Capitol Extension.  Registration must be performed the day of the hearing and within the Capitol Complex — however, you may create a profile in advance from any internet connection. Please visit: www.house.state.tx.us/resources/.

NOTICE OF ASSISTANCE AT PUBLIC MEETINGS:  Persons with disabilities who plan to attend this meeting and who may need assistance, such as a sign language interpreter, are requested to contact Stacey Nicchio at (512) 463-0850, 72 hours prior to the meeting so that appropriate arrangements can be made.  Since the hearing is in 24 hours, I guess that means persons with disabilities are out of luck.

Despite the fact that the GOP leadership has told the world that this bill is going to pass, the spontaneous outpouring of support show by citizens from across the state has been a heartening display of democracy in action. The 83rd legislative session along with the two special sessions is a snapshot of how little our elected officials listen to what is important to Texans.  Perhaps this time, there will be consequences.

Check out these photos:


Thongs showed up

Thousands showed up #StandingWithWendy

A sea of orange in front of a pink granite capitol

A sea of orange in front of a pink granite capitol

Inside the capitol after the rally.

Inside the capitol after the rally.

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The special session that Governor Rick Perry called started this morning.  On the agenda: extending the life-line of several state agencies that were up for review, such as the Department of Transportation, Insurance, Public Insurance Counsel, and the Texas Racing Commission and the State Affordable Housing Corporation.  If legislators don’t pass a bill to extend these agencies, they will expire next Septemeber with nothing to replace them.

Perry has also called for legislators to authorize $2 billion in road-building bonds.

That’s all that’s on the agenda.  As the AP quoted Perry saying, “Get’em in, get’em out and get the work done. Badda bing, badda boom!”

Technically, the session once called lasts 30 days, but if lawmakers get their work done early they will leave at that point.  According to the AP, Perry seems pretty confident that legislators will be home in their districts in time for Fourth of July fireworks.

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round upIt’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time once again to present the best of the Texas Progressive Alliance blog posts for the week.

TXsharon can’t choose one post this week! It’s a toss up between the aerial video view of Barnett Shale Industrial Wasteland Texas or the Barnett Shale drilling induced earthquakes or Erin Brockovich does Midland or the governmental warnings about defective pipeline materials on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS.

Xanthippas at Three Wise Men blogs about how utterly ridiculous it is for us to pay a tiny South Pacific nation to take Guantanamo Bay detainees because we are a nation of bed-wetting, pearl-clutching morons.

WCNews at Eye On Williamson analyzes what might possibly happen in the upcoming special session, Perry calls a special – what gets done is up to him.

Off the Kuff looks at a Lone Star Project report on State Rep. Dwayne Bohac and his questionable relationship with an employee of the Harris County Tax Assessor’s office.

BossKitty at TruthHugger sees a growing pandemic of hate that erupts in violence. See the diagnosis: Scapegoat Lessons: Holocaust Museum ‘Act Of Cowardice’

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that Judge Kent is going to jail. Too bad his sentence wasn’t longer. CBT can hardly wait to see his impeachment hearing in the senate.

This week, McBlogger finds out that the 290E tollway will be built using stimulus dollars. Which means Austinites will pay three different taxes to support this road.

John at Bay Area Houston> wonders about the lack of diversity at the Nancy Pelosi event in Houston.

George at The Texas Blue thinks that forced arbitration with credit card and cell phone companies is fundamentally unjust, but forced arbitration in a rape case is just disgusting.

Teddy at Left of College Station, reports on whether or not America is actually becoming more “pro-life” and looks deeper into the polls to find that opinions on reproductive rights are much more complicated, and Left of College Station also covers this week in the headlines.

Neil at Texas Liberal writes about Juneteenth. Juneteeth is June 19th and it has a Galveston origin.

Midland’s chromium 6 contamination got more linkage from PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Over at TexasKaos, liberaltexan asks, what exactly does the latest abortion survey mean? He answers not much new, since it does a poor job of asking the question and sorting out the nuances of public opinion. See the rest here: Are More Americans Pro-Life?

Justin at AAA-Fund Blog took some time to remember Tim Russert.

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rickperryEarlier this week, Governor Perry announced that he would, in fact, call back legislators for an extended special session.  What exactly this session will cover (voter ID? please no!) remains unclear, but the Governor has committed to addressing the “sunset safety net” bill that was left on the table.

The Houston Chronicle reports,

The governor had hoped to avoid a special session to keep intact the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Insurance, as well as three others that were not renewed, but calling lawmakers back to the Capitol proved to be the only option.

The other agencies are the Texas Racing Commission, which regulates horse and dog tracks; the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, which represents the public in insurance rate cases; and the State Affordable Housing Corporation, which links low-to-moderate-income people with potential home purchase lenders.

The five agencies are set to go out of existence on Sept. 1, 2010, because the legislation reauthorizing them did not pass.

If the specter of having no department at all for transportation, insurance, or affordable housing is scary enough to call a special session, I wonder what other issues the Governor will decide are important enough to address in a special session.

Certainly of note is the specter of Texas losing its leadership role in creating jobs tied to clean energy.  According to a new study by Pew Charitable Group on the clean energy economy, Texas ranks 2nd in businesses (4,802) and jobs (55,646) tied to the sector.

This is an exciting piece of information, especially considering that the clean energy industry grew twice as fast as the rest of the economy over the last decade.  Furthermore, Pew cited our renewable energy policies as a critical aspect of the state’s wind power explosion.

This information makes it even more painful that we weren’t able to pass similar legislation to jump-start Texas’ solar economy.  Especially when as soon as the session ended with solar still on the table, Tennessee Senators started saying they would be happy to take the solar jobs Texas snubbed.

Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis was actually quoted as saying, “Legislators in Texas have yanked the welcome mat for an industry that could pay huge dividends for their economy.  To any company that had an eye on Texas, we say come on up to Tennessee.”

Salt, meet my wounds.  Not only has Texas missed out on a great economic opportunity, but now we’re going to be one-upped by Tennessee? Unacceptable.

But with a special session upcoming, Texas may have another chance to revisit that solar legislation — which, by the way, passed with bipartisan support.  Everyone was on board for solar, we just ran out of time to get the nuts and bolts right.  Tragic.

Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston recently announced that he would like for the special session to take up lost clean energy legislation.  In a statement earlier this week, he said

Texas became rich from fossil fuels, but we could easily lose our position as an energy leader because of fossilized thinking. We could create far more wealth and jobs from wind and solar energy, but only we aggressively pursue clean energy opportunities. Unfortunately, we missed a golden opportunity this session one the governor should address if he calls a special session.

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