Today may be sine die for the 82nd Legislature, but members should be prepared to come back later this summer.
Legislative negotiators announced Saturday night that they could not reach agreement on a windstorm insurance reform bill, making a special legislative session all but certain.
State Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, emerged from the talks and said that because of legislative deadlines, there seemed to be no hope of an agreement before the session ends Monday.
Gov. Rick Perry said earlier Saturday that he would call lawmakers back to Austin if they could not reach a deal on revamping the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
See here for some background. Perry’s office has released a statement that blames trial lawyers but doesn’t explicitly mention a special session. Everyone seems to think there will be one for this, however, so keep your eye out for future statements. Recent history suggests that the call would come around the end of June. The question then becomes, will Congressional redistricting get added to the call? Maybe.
Perry told reporters that he would only call legislators back to Austin on redistricting if lawmakers agree on a map in advance.
“Obviously my druthers is that this bill gets taken care of by the Legislature. I don’t think it’s the courts’ business,” Perry said. “When they get to an agreed bill, then I would be wiling to talk about having them back in there for a very quick two- or three-day session to get redistricting done.”
Perry said he would not call lawmakers into a session without a deal in advance.
“Why would I call someone in when you don’t know whether they’re going to be able to perform,” Perry said. “To bring people in for 30 days and spend $5 million is irresponsible.”
I have to say, I agree with him. The Lege and not the courts should draw the map, but if the Lege is unable or unwilling to get the job done, then there’s no point in wasting time trying to force them. So consider June 30 or thereabouts to be the functional deadline for a legislative map to emerge. Trail Blazers has more.