LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - While the 87th session of the Texas legislature was anticipated to be anything but ordinary due to a pandemic and February’s winter storm. However, Senator Charles Perry said it ended up being business as usual.
“With COVID issues that we started out the session with, fortunately nobody got sick,” Perry said. “We really did a pretty good job of keeping everybody healthy. Because of that, we were able to get our work done. So, in hindsight, looking back a few months when all the dust settles, it looks and feels a lot like a every session.”
The end of the session wasn’t anticipated as Democratic lawmakers walked out in the final hours of debate in the House over Senate Bill 7, in which Perry is one of the authors. The break in quorum ended the bill’s chances of passing before the session deadline.
The bill, according to the authors, is related to election integrity and security. Perry says the belief that it’s voter suppression is not true. He tells KCBD the bill removes voting practices brought about during the pandemic.
“If it was already available in Texas election law, it pretty much is still available with probably clarity on what that looks like,” Perry said. “It’s not really new stuff. Unfortunately, it didn’t get over the line. We’ll put it over the line. You know, the good thing about a special session is you don’t leave till it’s done.”
Perry expects to return to a special session called by Governor Greg Abbott in July or August to take up that bill and others outlined by the Governor.
There is other legislation that Perry said will positively impact his district. Some of it secured funding for boll weevil protection for cotton farmers, a water consortium project, rural healthcare, cyber security programs at Angelo State and many other programs within the Texas Tech University System.
“So just lots of little things like that, that when you have time to get your breath and look back and say, ‘how did we do?’ I was very successful,” Perry said. “The Senate was good to us and most of it got through.”
Representative Dustin Burrows and Senator Perry both point to the Heartbeat Bill and reforms for ERCOT as legislative achievements.
“This session was one of the most conservative in the history of the state with several important bills already signed by the Governor or on their way to his desk - among them, the Texas Heartbeat Bill, the Constitutional Carry bill, bills that protect our religious and second amendment liberties, and legislation that strengthens and protects the state’s power grid,” Burrows said.
Perry also expects to return in the fall for 60 days for a special session on redistricting.
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