Gov. Rick Perry Calls for 2nd Special Session of Texas Legislature

In an unsurprising move, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling a second special session of the Texas Legislature.

The second special session will start July 1 at 2 p.m. and will run for no more than 30 days.

The special session will consider only the following legislative issues:

  • Legislation relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers and facilities.
  • Legislation relating to the funding of transportation infrastructure projects. 
  • Legislation relating to establishing a mandatory sentence of life with parole for a capital felony committed by a 17-year-old offender.

Those issues are the same three that were left unresolved after the first special session.

“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do," Perry said in a statement.   

A short time later, Perry tweeted the following message to his followers.

The first special session expired at midnight Wednesday as lawmakers voted on Senate Bill 5, one of the toughest abortion measures in the country.

The showdown came after Sen. Wendy Davis had slogged her way through about 11 hours of speaking while Senate Republicans — and several House members — watched and listened for any slip-up that would allow them to end the filibuster and call a vote.

Davis' filibuster was ended at about 10 p.m. Democrats then tied up the proceeding with questions about parliamentary procedure leading up to the midnight deadline.

As the protesters raised the noise to deafening levels in the Texas Senate chamber late Tuesday, Republicans scrambled to gather their colleagues at the podium for a stroke-of-midnight vote.

The noise never stopped and despite barely beating the midnight end-of-session deadline with a vote to pass the bill, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said the chaos in the chamber prevented him from formally signing it before the deadline passed, effectively killing it.

"I am furious about the outcome of the final day of this Special Session, when an unruly, screaming mob using 'Occupy Wall Street' tactics derailed legislation intended to protect the health of Texas women and their babies. An unconscionable series of delaying actions by the minority party and their allies placed SB 5 in direct jeopardy of death-by-filibuster upon its arrival in the Senate. Pushing every parliamentary procedure to its limit, we passed SB 5 19-10, but the deafening roar from the gallery drowned out any possibility of adjourning with a signed bill. I pledge to Texas one thing: this fight is far from over," said Dewhurst in a post on Facebook after the session ended.

Democrats who urged those in the gallery to continue called the outburst democracy in action.

Shortly after Perry's announcement of a second special session, Dewhurst tweeted the following message to his followers.

A short time after Dewhurst's tweet, Davis issued a statement where she vowed to continue fighting against abortion legislation while offering support for the bills on transportation infrastructure.

Misplaced priorities of legislative leaders squandered a tremendous opportunity to make much needed improvements in our transportation infrastructure and help create good jobs and bring businesses to Texas.  Despite urging by responsible members of the Senate to bring up the matter of transportation, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst derailed as much as much as $1 billion per year in transportation funding by stubbornly pushing divisive, failed legislation attacking women's health care options.

If leaders are serious about using this second called special session to improve the lives of Texans by repairing and expanding our transportation networks, they will find no greater ally than me.  If they intend to keep pushing their extreme personal political agenda ahead of the interests of Texas families, I will not back off of my duty to fight on their behalf.

Online: Read SB 5 at Texas Legislature Online

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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