Press Release from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
July 2, 2009
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Estes Concludes Special Session

Austin — State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) concluded the First Called Special Session of the 81st Texas Legislature as lawmakers finalized two of the three issues presented by Governor Rick Perry in calling lawmakers back to Austin.

Governor Rick Perry called the Special Session for lawmakers to take up and consider legislation to issue $2 billion in transportation bonds already approved by voters, continue key state agencies facing review by the Texas Sunset Commission, and reauthorize the use of comprehensive development agreements used by the Texas Department of Transportation to contract with private entities for the construction and operation of toll roads.

"The Governor called this Special Session to address three specific issues with the expectation that we would complete our work quickly," said Estes. "I am pleased that we were able to address the 'must-pass' items providing additional transportation bonds, and continuing the operations of state agencies facing Sunset review."

One item not passed by the Legislature would have continued authorizing the Texas Department of Transportation to enter into contracts with private entities to fund, construct, and operate Texas toll roads through comprehensive development agreements. Without reauthorization by the Texas Legislature, the authority by the Texas Department of Transportation to enter into comprehensive development agreements will expire on September 1.

While not a subject of the call for the Special Session, Estes re-filed his eminent domain reform bill as Senate Bill 10 to add protections for property owners. SB 10 is the same bill as Senate Bill 18 passed unanimously by the Texas State Senate, but was not voted on by the Texas House before the Regular Session of the 81st Texas Legislature concluded on June 1.

"I would have preferred an opportunity to pass meaningful eminent domain reform, and I know the Governor has his reasons to limit the call of the Session," said Estes. "I will continue to work hard on the issue of eminent domain reform, and it will be one of my top priorities when the Legislature meets again."

Senator Estes is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.