SPECIAL SESSION NARROWLY FOCUSED SO FAR
Governor Perry called a special legislative session that began just a day after sine die of the regular session. It could last through the end of the month. So far, the only items in “the call” (the allowable agenda) are the following:
- Medicaid and healthcare cost containment
- Congressional redistricting
- Hurricane insurance
- Prohibition of sanctuary cities/Secure Communities Program
The so-called sanctuary cities issue and the Secure Communities Program are the only issues directly affecting Texas cities. The sanctuary cities legislation would, among other things, ban city policies that prohibit police officers from inquiring into immigration status during lawful detentions. (A more detailed summary of the bills, 1H.B. 9 [Solomons] and 1S.B. 9 [Williams], is given elsewhere in this edition.)
Similar legislation passed the House during the regular session but died in the Senate when it could not muster the two-thirds vote necessary to come up for debate. Special sessions have different rules, however. The Senate requires only a majority vote to take up an item during a special session. City officials concerned about the sanctuary cities issue should contact their senator right away.
The Secure Communities Program legislation would require city jails to run immigration checks on detainees. Similar, but less burdensome, legislation filed during the regular session, H.B. 183 by Solomons, would have permitted cities to ask other entities, such as counties or federal immigration officials, to run such checks as an alternative to the cities doing it themselves. City officials concerned about this issue (the bill number is 1S.B. 9 [Williams]) should contact their senators and representatives now.
It is possible that other issues could be added to the call by the governor, and other city-related bills have been filed that are not part of the governor’s call. League staff will monitor the special session just as closely as the regular.
DON'T MISS THE LEAGUE'S 2011 LEGISLATIVE WORKSHOPS
The League is pleased to offer a live seminar covering the city-related legislation passed during the 2011 regular legislative session in Austin on June 27.
In addition, the League will offer a webinar on the consequences of S.B. 100, the election date bill, on June 29 with a repeat on July 12.
Please go to www.tml.org and click on "Training."