Lone Star Report Blog
May 31, 2011
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst wrote a letter to Gov. Rick Perry with a list of bills he would like on the call for the special session. Some — such as Dewhurst’s health care compact and reform bills — are not a surprise.
But he has also requested for the special session call both congressional redistricting and the bill by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) to make groping without probable cause by Transportation Security Administration workers a felony. The Simpson bill died in the waning days of the regular session after senators received a letter from the United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas threatening to challenge the bill in court and shut down Texas airports if the bill passes.
We post the entire text of the Dewhurst letter below:
Dear Governor Perry,
Unfortunately, despite the very hard work and determination of the majority of Members of both the House and Senate, the Legislature was unable to pass a number of important bills, including SB 1811 needed to fund the budget, before the deadline of midnight last night.
Still, there is still an outside possibility that SB 1811 could pass the Texas Senate today with the bipartisan support of four-fifths of the Members. However, if this vote should fail − forcing us into Special Session − I believe that it would be in the best interest of all Texans to start tomorrow and ask you to consider including the following bills in your call:
SB 1811 – Relating to certain state fiscal matters and making necessary appropriations; providing penalties;
SB 8 – Relating to improving the quality and efficiency of health care;
SB 23 – Relating to the administration of reforms, efficiency, cost-saving, fraud prevention, and funding measures for certain health and human services and health benefits programs;
HB 5 – Relating to establishing an Interstate Health Care Compact;
HB 12 – Relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities;
HB 272 – Relating to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and to the resolution of certain disputes concerning claims made to that association;
SB 12/HB400 – Relating to the flexibility of the Board of Trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools in the district and theflexibility for public schools to administer primary and secondary education efficiently;
HB 1937 – Relating to prosecution and punishment for the offense of official oppression by the intrusive touching of persons seeking access to public buildings and transportation; and
HB 900/SB 308 – Relating to the composition of the congressional districts for the State of Texas.
As you know, certain Senate procedures – such as the two-thirds tradition – exist to bring Democrats and Republicans together, encouraging Members to work in good faith in order to achieve positive outcomes for the people of Texas. Given that a small number of Senate Democrats have demonstrated their unwillingness to find consensus on these important legislative items, I can see no other alternative than to operate under a simple majority vote in the Special Session.
I look forward to working with you and Speaker Straus to finish the important business Texans elected us to accomplish.