The Texas Legislature adjourned Sine Die on July 2nd, 2009 from the 81st first called special session and addressed the needs of Texas by passing House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2. The special session included the sunset scheduling bill, which continues several vital state agencies that are subject to expiration as of next year as well as two transportation issues. These issues include general obligation bonds and Comprehensive Development Agreements.
The House and Senate worked diligently and quickly so the state can continue to fund and build our roads, as well as continue the function of many important agencies such as the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Department of Transportation. By passing these bills during the special session, it allowed the state to continue to serve its citizens in an efficient manner.
House Bill 1 allows the state to issue general obligation bonds for highway improvement projects to assist in providing adequate financing for future transportation infrastructure. In addition, an important amendment was added to prevent the State Infrastructure Bank from providing money to convert non-tolled roads or highways into tolled roads or highways. This amendment would not prevent tolled lanes from being built between existing highway lanes with the old highway lanes being turned into free access roads.
Senate Bill 2 continues the operations of five state agencies. Those agencies – the Transportation and Insurance Departments, the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, the Racing Commission, and Affordable Housing Corporation – were authorized for another two years but will be scrutinized by lawmakers in the 2011 session.
House Bill 3 and the senate companion bill dealing with Comprehensive Development Agreements was not agreed upon and was never voted out of the chambers’ respective transportation committees.