Thanks in part to a heroic filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis (D - Fort Worth), we have a special session called by the guv to address the following:
- SB 1811 - School funding and other fiscal matters
- SB 8 - Health Care
- SB 23 - Health and Human Services
- HB 5 - Interstate Health Care Compact
- HB 12 - Immigration
- HB 272 - Texas Windstorm Association
- SB 12 / HB 400 - “school flexibility”
- HB 1937- “groping” bill
- HB 900 / SB 308 Congressional redistricting
Needless to say, none of the above bills are good bills; although, I am sympathetic to the TSA anti-groping bill.
Also, have a look at the proposed Congressional redistricting map. Just look at it for a minute. This map is an ode to packing and gerrymandering. Travis county is split among 5 districts (Doggett is an obvious target, with a district running clear down to San Antonio), Harris County looks like a pinwheel, and the Valley is done up in pinstripes like a 1980s stock broker. No wonder they waited until a special session to release this turd of a map.
Thank goodness the Department of Justice — under a Democratic administration during redistricting for the first time in 50ish years — will have a say in this redistricting map. Public testimony against this map will go a long way toward helping DOJ correct it in the end, so keep your ear to the ground for opportunities to make your voice heard as part of the official record.
Along with this slate of bills, the Lt. Governor is asking Gov. Perry let bills pass in the Senate be by majority vote only. This is because they didn’t have the votes to pass the above bills during the regular session, so they are doing an end-run around their own rules to jam them through.
I am surprised that the special session has started so soon, with basically a call to order and then adjournment 30 minutes later on Tuesday. I still predict that a special session in July will be necessary, though the GOP (and Perry for President) would love to avoid one.
The toll free number to the capitol is 1-888-836-8368. It’s time to let your representatives know how you feel about this not-so-special session.