Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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May 24, 2013

Perry mum on special session talk

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry wouldn't say Friday whether there is too much unfinished business at the Texas Legislature to adjourn next week as scheduled. His record the last 13 years says lawmakers aren't going anywhere.

The regular 140-day session ends Monday. But with only the Memorial Day weekend left to work through reams of bills — including a new state budget stalled in down-to-the-wire turmoil — speculation intensified Friday that a special summer session is around the corner.

Settling voting maps that have been disputed in federal courts since last year will most likely keep the Legislature working into June. But Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst also wants to revive failed conservative efforts such as tighter abortion restrictions, looser gun laws and a harder cap on state spending.

Since becoming governor in 2000, Perry has presided over six regular sessions of the Legislature. Four of those times — 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2011 — he called lawmakers back to the Capitol to keep working.

When asked Friday whether another special session was in the works, Perry would only coolly reply, "We are headed for the end of this session."

But the number of lawmakers resigned to overtime is growing. Republican state Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, called it a "done deal."

"I think (Attorney General Greg) Abbott has convinced many lawmakers we have got to certify the map," Eltife said. "From what I gather, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Gov. Perry are convinced of that.

"As for all the other issues swirling around, that's totally up to Gov. Perry."

Dewhurst rattled off his legislative wish list in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He said he wants another crack at legislation that would require drug tests for welfare recipients, allow students with concealed-handgun licenses to carry guns into campus buildings and further restrict the availability of abortions.

Dewhurst told the newspaper he thought Perry was "seriously considering" calling a special session.

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