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News News
Second Special Session Ends
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 8/2/2013 Views: 1442  Impressions: 8298
Categories: Politics

On Tuesday, July 30, the Second Called Special Session of the 83rd Legislature came to a close at midnight. The Legislature passed two bills during this special session: House Bill 2, which regulates abortion procedures, providers, and facilities; and Senate Bill 2, which relates to the punishment for a capital felony committed by an individual younger than 18 years of age. However, a consensus was unable to be reached on a transportation funding constitutional amendment.
The governor issued the call for the third special session shortly after the House and Senate adjourned on Tuesday. The only item on the call for the third special session is "to consider legislation relating to the funding of transportation infrastructure projects." The governor may add additional items to the call at any time.
On Tuesday, the speaker appointed seven members to the House Select Committee on Transportation Funding, of which I was appointed chair. The committee met on Thursday, August 1 and passed out House Joint Resolution 1, which provides that a portion of oil and gas severance tax revenues be directed to the State Highway Fund. These funds would provide about 1/4 of the additional revenue needed to fund and maintain the state's highway system. The House also passed out House Bill 1, which is enabling legislation for HJR 1. HB 1 requires the Department of Transportation to identify $100 million in cost savings before 2015 and for the legislature to study transportation funding options and to make recommendations on ways to fully fund transportation before the next regular legislative session.
It is expected that the House will debate these bills on Monday, August 5. Since HJR 1 is a constitutional amendment, it will require a 2/3 vote of both the Senate and House before it is sent to voters for approval. Should the constitutional amendment be passed during this special session, it would appear on the November 2014 ballot, not this year's general election ballot.
For more information on any state matter, please contact my office by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by emailing me at My district office phone number is (903) 891-7297.

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