Gov. Rick Perry highlighted legislative accomplishments of the 82nd Legislative Session, and urged lawmakers to take swift action on unfinished legislative business as outlined in his call for a special session. The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, where he commended legislative action that passed the state budget without raising taxes while preserving the Rainy Day Fund, and measures that addressed emergency items and other priority legislation.
"The voters of Texas made it clear last November that they wanted a leaner, more efficient state government with no new taxes, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished together to deliver that and more," Gov. Perry said. "The steps taken over the past 140 days have placed Texas on the path to even greater prosperity in the years to come. I look forward to lawmakers taking quick action on the important issues remaining before them in the special session."
Gov. Perry praised legislators for making the tough choices necessary to keep Texas living within its means in the face of one of the most significant budget challenges in our state's history. Lawmakers have passed a fiscally responsible budget without raising taxes, while maintaining essential services and preserving more than $6 billion in the Rainy Day Fund to keep the state equipped to respond to potential natural disasters or ongoing national economic challenges.
The governor also applauded lawmakers for their work in passing key issues he declared emergency items. These include measures that strengthen Texas' legal climate by implementing a loser pays system to cut down on frivolous lawsuits; protect the integrity of elections by requiring voters to present a photo ID at the polls; protect life by requiring a woman to receive a sonogram before electing to have an abortion; strengthen private property rights by passing eminent domain protections into law; and call on the U.S. Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment. Additionally, Gov. Perry highlighted important legislation that will combat human trafficking, giving prosecutors the tools to ensure those that commit this crime are brought to justice and strengthening the penalties for those who are convicted.
Yesterday, Gov. Perry issued the call for a special session to address fiscal matters necessary for the implementation of House Bill 1, including measures that will allow school districts to operate more efficiently, and measures to address healthcare cost containment, access to services through managed care, and the creation of economic and structural incentives to improve the quality of Medicaid services.