Local Legislators Say Special Session A Near Certainty - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/31/05-Tyler

Local Legislators Say Special Session A Near Certainty

The state legislative session has come to an end, and once again there's no agreement on the issue plaguing the state for years -- school finance reform.

But two East Texas leglislators -- one Democrat and one Republican say that's not for long.

"Things are much better, things are very cordial [in the legislature]."

Representatives Leo Berman and Chuck Hopson say Democrats and Republicans have worked together for the state's good, but it was the House and Senate that couldn't agree on a school finance bill.

"The [houses] were so completely apart they never were able to get back together," said Democrat Hopson of Jacksonville.

Republican Berman of Tyler said "The major adversary for the [school finance] bill were the teachers themselves. The teachers unions' opposed the bill."

Berman says there was great pressure placed on the Senate, after the House passed it's version. And time ran out. Hopson says he welcomes the engagement of the teacher's unions, but what happened during the session he feels is in the past.

Hopson says a special session is sure to come, but it should only after most of the details have already been hammered out.

Hopson: "I think it would be detrimental to the leadership and to Governor Perry to call us back for a special session and not have everything in place before he calls us back."  

Berman and Hopson say there were many positives to come out of the session.

Like workers' compensation reform, and an anti-methamphetamine bill, putting certain meth ingredients like Sudafed behind pharmacy counters.

Also, Child Protective Services has been reformed to, legislators say, work more efficiently.

Despite the bright spots, the cloud of school funding still looms, but East Texas lawmakers say with an end in sight.

"I'm optimistic when we come back, we'll have things very close,"  says Hopson.

Both Hopson and Berman also say one of the most important actions of the session was the parental consent act for abortion.

When the bill is signed into law, doctors will have to get parent's permission to perform an abortion on their minor child. In the past, parents just had to be notified.

reported by Morgan Palmer. morganpalmer@kltv.com

 

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