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TX Gov. Perry: 'Where there is a will, there is a way'

By J. Lyn Carl,

Austin, TX –

Still hoping to move forward despite crushing defeats of public school reform and property tax relief legislation in the House today, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst this evening expressed their disappointment in the House's failure to pass HBs 2 and 3.

Perry said he shares the disappointment and frustration of millions of Texas in the House's surprise votes today.

Dewhurst called the House actions today a "setback" on school finance reform and said he would be meeting the Perry and House Speaker Tom Craddick Wednesday to "discuss our options on moving forward."

"Legislators now have a decision to make," said Perry. With only 24 days left in the Second Called Session, the governor said lawmakers either can "give up on pay raises for teachers, funding for textbooks, and a property tax cut, or they can join me over the next few weeks in fighting for what the people want."

With both bills having failed passage to third reading in the House, and with both bills "joined at the hip" according to many legislators, there are questions as to whether (a) the Senate can pass its own version of either bill, and (b) whether such bills would pass in the House.

You can also throw into the mix a constitutional provision that states that once a bill has been considered and defeated in either chamber another bill on the same substance cannot be passed into law during the same session. But it would appear a parliamentary ruling might be the only thing necessary to rule that similar bills in the Senate are not of the same "substance" as the two that failed in the House today. "Last Thursday, the leadership of both houses said they were close to an agreement on a property tax cut in a joint news conference," said Perry. He added that the bill that the House voted on today was "quite similar" to the property tax cuts both chambers passed in previous weeks.

"I still believe where there is a will there is a way," said Perry. "I called them into special session because their work was unfinished and nothing has changed."

Saying he knows legislators are both frustrated and tired, Perry noted, "So are are teachers hoping for a pay raise...and so are families looking for better schools." Perry said he is expecting House and Senate members to return to their task Wednesday and "set aside rancor and partisanship, and get back to work."