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With One Week To Go, Special Session Still Debating Abortion, Transportation & Redistricting

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

Some House Republicans feel that too much time is being spent debating abortion legislation during the special session and not enough time on roads.

The House first assigned a set of four abortion bills to a select committee on Monday, giving the bills a later start than their Senate companions, but despite that there are some who feel the bills have a fighting chance.

"I do sense there’s momentum, you are seeing in the Senate already," said Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas. "We are moving to the House this week. Of the four bills, the fetal pain bill I think is the most important to the governor, so I sense that we will see that one move forward."

Others in the Republican camp feel that debating these bills is taking time away from transportation funding bills. Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, said time is running out in the special session.

"When you add other issues to the call, such as abortion or the criminal justice system, it further complicates the ability of the legislature to focus and get something done, and for that I’m troubled," Darby said.

Darby said he’d like to see the legislature spend its remaining days finding small streams of funding for roads, but also said any real solution for transportation won’t likely come until next session, when the state is in a crisis over traffic congestion and road conditions.

In line with that same type of thinking is Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, R-San Antonio.

"I think transportation needs to addressed in a serious way and I’ve said that consistently since before the beginning of the regular session. I happen to think some of the approaches from Representative Darby during the session made a lot of sense," Strauss said.

Lawmakers only have a week left to get things done in the special session. One week to sort out abortion, transportation and redistricting, or nothing at all.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.