June 18, 2003
Special session: It's semi-official

Though he still won't confirm anything, the word is that Governor Perry is about to call a special session to begin on June 30 that will cover redistricting as well as the so-called "Death Star" government reorganization bill.

Perry spokeswoman Kathy Walt refused to confirm the expected announcement.

"If and when he decides to call a special session, you'll be among the first to know," Walt said.

The Houston Chronicle first reported on June 5 that Perry was going to call a special session for June 30.

But while the governor's staff has continuously told legislators to avoid any vacation plans for July, Perry has taken no action in setting the wheels in motion on a special session. At one point, his staff told lawmakers the session would begin either June 30 or July 7.

House Speaker Tom Craddick's staff was embarrassed when his aides set up redistricting public hearings for this week and then had to cancel them when Perry did not issue the special session call.

Perry earlier Tuesday was questioned by reporters over why he was delaying an announcement on the session. He declined to answer.

When one reporter said the governor's inaction was making it difficult for lawmakers, legislative staff and journalists to plan their summer vacations, Perry replied:

"There may be some folks who believe Ardmore would be an appropriate vacation spot."

I suspect that the main roadblock this time will be in the Senate, where previously wavering Democrats Eddie Lucio and Ken Armbrister have more recently made fairly strong statements against supporting a redistricting bill. Not to say that they can't or won't be persuaded, but it's not a slam dunk by any means.

As noted, though special sessions are limited to 30 days (and this one may be shorter), the Governor can call as many special sessions as he wants. It will be very interesting to see what happens if the Senate Democrats stare Perry down. I can't help but think that calling another special session immediately afterwards would be unpopular, at least among editorialists and those who think spending any extra money on government is wasteful.

In any event, it appears my tentative prediction that Perry would put a school finance session ahead of a redistricting session in order to get full cooperation from Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is wrong. These thing happen.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on June 18, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack

What's the point? What's the upside for Perry here? I blogged about it, and simply can't see an upside. Either the Senate will refuse to bring it up (he's a vote short just with Democrats, and some Republicans haven't committed) in which case he just looks like an idiot, or even if they do, the Democrats go back to Oklahoma. Or maybe New Mexico this time.

I can't see him believing he can pass it, and I can't see him thinking he'll come out looking any better than last time. It'll just be an excuse to drag out the scandal, and this time the Dems can focus more on the "it's a SECOND redistricting". It'll look like a purely partisan waste of money, even more so because no one thinks Perry has a chance to get it passed.

What's the upside for Perry here?

Posted by: Morat on June 18, 2003 10:56 AM

You can bet that the GOP is offering sweet deals of various kinds to Lucio, Armbrister, and anyone else who might cave in return for support. Given that, I can see Perry's view of the upside. However, if it fails again I think he'll be forced to retreat. I surely can't see another session just for that. But hey, I've been wrong before.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on June 18, 2003 1:01 PM

Strayhorn isn't going to certify the budget, so they'll be back for that too. Will be interesting to see whether they gavel through what they already did with a 4/5 (I think that's the right ratio) to overrule Strayhorn. I wonder who's chain she's trying to pull on this one - maybe force Perry into signing a tax increase then run against him for gov?

Posted by: hope on June 19, 2003 10:52 PM