Perry calls for 30 day special session to address redistricting - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Perry calls for 30 day special session to address redistricting

AUSTIN - Texas lawmakers are staying in Austin for another month. Governor Rick Perry called a 30 day special session Monday, just minutes after the end of the regular 140-day regular session.

The only agenda item Perry has on the agenda right now is for lawmakers to address state voting maps that have been challenged in court since 2011.

Perry could add more issues later, and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst hopes he does. Dewhurst is urging Perry to add abortion limits, gun bills and school choice measures.

Although the House quit business for the night, the Senate decided to resume business less than an hour later. Though the work is not yet over, the regular legislative session is, and lawmakers made a lot of changes this year.

The House and Senate signed off on 955 bills this session. Governor Perry has signed 197 of those into law, vetoed two, and allowed four to become law without his signature.

Perry has three weeks to act on the remaining bills, and those unsigned go into law automatically.

Here are some of the most important changes from the 83rd Legislative Session:

- Texas will no longer lead the nation when it comes to the number of standardized tests in public schools. A bill sits on Governor Perry's desk that would dramatically change high school graduation requirements, including reducing the number of tests to be passed from 15 to 5.

- The hurting public school budget won back $4 billion. That money was stripped in the 2011 budget crunch. The now boosted budget puts the amount of per-student spending back on the same level it was four years ago.

- Lawmakers set aside $2 billion to create a state water plan they hope could guarantee enough water to last another 50 years, even in driest parts of the drought-ridden state. Voters will have the final say on whether that fund is created in a November election.

Democrats are calling this session a victory for now, accomplishing their number one goal of replenishing the school budget.

Meanwhile, far-right conservatives are unhappy about spending and the unresolved abortion issue.

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