Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stalling over Voter ID law forced special session

Austin - The house of pink granite is so divided over racial issues that it shows a picture of fierce opposition to getting the job done.

Legislators will tackle the business in the special session that opened this morning of keeping 5 essential state agencies open that were slated for sunset after September 2011.

Foot dragging over the Voter ID law caused legislators to adjourn without completing review of the Texas DOT, Texas Department of Insurance, Texas Racing Commission, Office of Public Insurance Counsel and Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation.

Opposition lawmakers worked against conservative issues such as Voter ID and thereby forced the session, which also calls for a school finance bill and reform to Medicaid benefits.

“The opposition is so dedicated and has made statements over and over that they will do whatever it takes,” said District 4 Representative Betty Brown of Athens. “They’re more dedicated to that (opposing Voter ID) than they are in getting the business of the state done. I can see the governor wanting to get us in and out of here in a timely manner and not putting it on the call.”

Lawmakers are also scheduled to consider legislation allowing the Texas Department of Transportation to approve a $2 billion general obligation bond issue already approved by voters. The bonds will pay for highway improvement projects, and for the creation a Texas Transportation Revolving Fund to provide financial assistance for transportation projects.

The final item on the call is to extend the authority of the Texas Department of Transportation.

“It could have been avoided if the opposition to the voter ID hadn’t filibustered in the latter days and allowed us to go on with the business at hand,” Rep. Brown said. “In the house it’s not technically called filibustering, but it had the same effect.”

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