Gov. Rick Perry hailed legislation aimed at securing future water supplies on Tuesday, but he was far less forthcoming about his plans for a newly called special session or his next political moves.
Perry spoke to reporters at a bill signing ceremony for House Bill 4, designed to set up a water infrastructure bank that will provide money for reservoirs, conservation programs and other projects, assuming voters give their approval to the proposed $2 billion in funding.
"It is hard to overstate the importance of this legislation," Perry said. He spoke about how a strong supply of potable water was critical to the state's economic growth as well as the quality of life of Texans.
After signing the bill, Perry was asked about his timetable for deciding whether to run for re-election. He ratcheted up the coyness factor in his response.
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“I will let you know in the future,” he said. Asked if he was still planning to announce his intentions in June, as he has said previously on several occasions, the governor repeated the line verbatim. Because Perry has made no visible moves toward a re-election race, the conventional wisdom is that he will step aside and clear the way for Attorney General Greg Abbott to become the top GOP gubernatorial candidate for 2014, but until he makes that clear the guessing game continues.
Perry was equally evasive about his view of expanding the list of items eligible for consideration during the current special session. Perry ordered lawmakers to take up redistricting in a 30-day special session that began about an hour after the regular 2013 session ended Monday.
Many legislators are urging Perry to include other items, with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst leading the charge for passage of a conservative wish list of social issues — including proposals for expanding gun rights, creating a school voucher program and adopting new abortion restrictions.
“No decisions have been made at this time about any other additions than what we already have,” Perry said. He told reporters he wanted to examine all the bills that were passed during the regular session first, but he left the door open to an expanded agenda.
“The members are here and if there’s some things that need to be either tweaked or what have you, we’ll address those as we can,” Perry said. “I think it’s a little bit premature with less than 24 hours since we’ve called this special to be addressing whether we’re going to be adding anything to the call or not.”
Aman Batheja contributed to this story.
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