Gov. Perry Gears Up for Special Session

The Texas Legislature begins a special session this week after failing to wrap up the budget process Monday. Governor Rick Perry criticized a Fort Worth Democrat who used a filibuster to delay a bill that would cut $4 billion to schools. But Democrats say she did the right thing. Carrie Feibel has more.


The special session became necessary after state senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster.

Now lawmakers will have to go back to work and figure out how to distribute the cuts in school aid. Without that, the budget isn’t finished.

But Governor Rick Perry says the regular session was still a great success.

“We passed a budget that cuts spending in Texas, maintaining our essential services, keeping taxes low, preserving more than $6 billion in emergency funding that will be very handy if the national economy continues to slump or if we face a major natural disaster.”

State Representative Garnet Coleman, a Houston Democrat, says he would have preferred that the state use some more of that $6 billion in the rainy day fund.  

The budget includes $15 billion in spending cuts and that’s nothing to be proud of, he says.

“The one thing for sure the governor’s wrong on is it does cut essential services. Maybe he’s forgotten that a good public school is important. And those are essential services, having enough staff and quality staff in a nursing home is an essential service.”

At a press conference, Perry said he’s proud of some new laws came out of the regular session.

Those included litigation tort reform known as “loser pays,” a requirement that women seeking an abortion get a sonogram, a voter identification law, and stricter penalties for human trafficking.

Perry refused to answer questions about a Presidential run, saying he needs to concentrate on the special legislative session.

“Talk to me after the session’s over with.”

Coleman says it’s not just the school budget cuts that need to get done in a special session.  He says the Legislature didn’t finish overhauling the financially troubled Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. And they didn’t complete Congressional redistricting.

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