Perry fast tracks Voter ID, spending measure

AUSTIN (AP) - Gov. Rick Perry wants to fast-track legislation tightening voter identification laws and another measure aimed at restricting federal spending.

Perry declared a legislative "emergency'' for the items on Thursday. That means they can bypass normal procedures and be debated more quickly, in the first 30 days of the session.

Republicans are making strengthened Voter ID laws, which they say is necessary to prevent fraud, a top priority. Democrats say it's a partisan bill designed to increase GOP margins at the ballot box.

Perry also gave the Legislature the green light to quickly join a national effort to pass a new balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibiting deficit spending by Congress.