Transportation Measure Dies in First Special Session… And They’re Back Again in Second Special Session
A proposed constitutional amendment to divert some of the state’s oil and gas tax revenue to transportation projects nearly passed the Texas Legislature during the special session, but ran out of time on the final day that saw a filibuster on an unrelated bill about abortion. The transportation amendment, S.J.R. 2 by Sen. Robert Nichols, had already passed both the House and the Senate, and was awaiting a final action in the Senate to approve a House floor amendment. Had S.J.R. 2 passed and been approved by voters in November, it would have diverted half of the oil and gas severance tax from the state’s rainy day fund to the state highway fund, provided the rainy day fund maintained a certain minimum balance. The Senate never took the final vote, however, as S.J.R. 2 sat behind a controversial abortion bill on the calendar, S.B. 5, that failed to pass in the waning moments under a cloud of confusion over parliamentary rules concerning an eleven-hour filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis.
In other business during the special session, the legislature adopted court-drawn congressional and state legislative redistricting maps. No other substantive legislation passed.
The governor has called a second special session to begin at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 1. As of now, the following issues are in the “call:”
- Legislation relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities.
- Legislation relating to the funding of transportation infrastructure projects.
- Legislation relating to establishing a mandatory sentence of life with parole for a capital felony committed by a 17-year-old offender.
Senate Joint Resolution 1, which is similar to the transportation funding bill from the first special session, has already been filed. As usual, the League will monitor and take action as necessary on city-related bills.