Numerous institutions, university authorities and their representatives in the Texas House and Senate are rallying for a $2 billion-plus bond package to be included in the current special session of the Texas Legislature.
According to the Texas Constitution, the duration of each special session is limited to 30 days, during which time lawmakers can consider issues only designated by the governor himself, or from a proclamation convening a special session, such as Governor Rick Perry’s recent call on May 27 to address legislative and congressional redistricting. This type of special session is the last chance for concerned educators and lawmakers to reestablish the $2 billion worth of overdue university construction projects in this year’s agenda, before having to wait another two years before the backlogged bond package is reconsidered in their next biennial session in 2015.
Among the projects waiting for funding is one by the University of North Texas, which is requesting millions of dollars for construction in Denton, Fort Worth, and Dallas — including an interdisciplinary research facility at the UNT Health Science Center. Another is University of Texas at Arlington‘s request for $64 million to reconstruct the life science building for their behavioral and biomedical sciences.
According to Lee Jackson, chancellor of the University of North Texas System, the House and Senate members have informed him that a compromise should be reached soon. Spokesman for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Dominic Chavez, says there is strong support from lawmakers to include the bond package in the special session’s agenda.