Friday, August 12, 2005

Telecom measure on Texas governor's desk

Claudia Grisales writes in The Austin American-Statesman:

Could big phone companies squeeze a win out of a special session that was suppose to be dedicated to school financing and property tax reform?

With a controversial telecommunications overhaul plan now awaiting Gov. Rick Perry's signature, SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. sure hope so. Perry, who has said he wouldn't sign a telecom measure without school finance done first, may be backing off those lofty goals as hopes dim that lawmakers will reach a deal. "The governor is going to keep his options open," Perry spokesman Robert Black said Wednesday.

Perry has 30 days to sign the measure into law. But the Texas Constitution also allows Perry a way out. Even if he doesn't sign the bill, it automatically will become law after 30 days. Perry could veto the legislation, but he has said that he wants telecom changes to move forward.

In a four-minute period Wednesday morning that included no debate or amendments, the state House voted 144 to 1 (Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, the lone opponent) to send Senate Bill 5 to Perry's desk for his signature. Late Tuesday, the Senate approved the measure.


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