Gov. Rick Perry today signed Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2, passed during the special session of the 82nd Legislature, which finalize a balanced budget for the 2012-13 biennium without raising taxes, allocating more than half of state funds to education and preserving $6 billion in the state's Rainy Day Fund. The governor has also signed legislation that reforms the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), enacts new congressional districts, and helps contain costs in the Medicaid program and improve quality and efficiency in health care. Gov. Perry signed all eight bills that lawmakers sent to his desk during the special session.
"I applaud lawmakers for their dedicated efforts to complete the work that will keep our state on strong footing over the next two years and beyond," Gov. Perry said. "We overcame substantial challenges to balance our state budget without raising taxes, protecting essential services and preserving our Rainy Day Fund. The tough decisions made this session to keep Texas living within its means will reap greater dividends down the road as we continue to strengthen the principles that will keep Texas job creation strong, including restrained spending, low taxes, reasonable regulations, a fair legal system and accountable public schools."
Senate Bill 1 also extends the small business tax exemption that was passed in 2009 to 2014, a measure that Gov. Perry fought to continue and that will keep taxes low for thousands of small businesses across the state.
Gov. Perry also signed House Bill 3, which improves TWIA's operations, protecting Texans from the effects of devastating hurricane seasons and keeping insurance coverage available to Texans living along the coast. It also implements reforms that will ensure the association timely and adequately compensates its policyholders without enriching trial lawyers or further undermining the organization's financial stability.
Gov. Perry again applauded lawmakers for their work in passing key issues he declared emergency items during the regular session, including 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 strengthen the penalties for those who are convicted.
To view a list of accomplishments of the 82nd Legislature, please click the link below.
To view bills signed by the governor during the 82nd Legislative Special Session, please visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Reports/Report.aspx?LegSess=821&ID=signedbygov. (NOTE: This link will reflect signed legislation once updated by the Texas Legislative Reference Library. Bills signed by the governor and filed with the Secretary of State include HB 3, HB 79, SB 1, SB 2, SB 4, SB 6, SB 7 and SB 8. To learn more about these bills, visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us.)