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Inside Intelligence: About Those Special Session Rumblings...

For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about the odds of a special session this summer and for a Magic 8 Ball assessment of House-Senate relations.

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For this week’s nonscientific survey of insiders in government and politics, we asked about the odds of a special session this summer.

A strong majority of the insiders pegged the chance of lawmakers spending some extra time in Austin at even odds or less. Fully 35 percent believed the odds are 20 percent or less and another 35 percent calculated the odds as between 21 and 50 percent.

Another 20 percent put the odds at between 51 and 80 percent. And 9 percent were nearly certain lawmakers wouldn't get everything done they will need to, putting the odds of a special session at higher than 80 percent.

There was little doubt as to what would spur an extra session. Three in four said budget and taxes would be the cause. One in four thought education and pre-K would trigger the special. Interestingly, no one thought ethics would cause more meeting time for lawmakers despite recent debates on the issue tagged as an emergency item by the governor.

We closed with a question asking what Magic 8 Ball response best describes whether the House and Senate have patched up their differences. The biggest group — 43 percent — said "Outlook not so good," while 40 percent said "Ask again later." Be sure to check out the insider-supplied suggestions on this one.

We collected comments along the way, and a full set of those is attached. Here’s a sampling:

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What are the odds of a special session this summer?

• "The biggest problem with a special session is the Comptroller will need to redo the revenue forecast. I suspect the number would be lower, potentially killing the tax cuts that might necessitate going to a special session."

• "Very low. If they hate each other so much, Abbott will have to give them time to let the dust settle."

• "IF there is a special session in this biennium, it will be very soon. No way they will let this show holdover into an election year."

• "If the tax reform messes up the budget, we will be back. As to whether it will be in the summer depends on the new governor's understanding of how the special session game is played."

• "I bought my vacation cancellation insurance policy, didn't you?"

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If there’s a special session, what would cause it?

• "I believe the Governor will call a special session on Redistricting."

• "Dan Patrick's Tea Party Advisory Council"

• "Only public school finance by court order will send this bunch back in before 2017..."

• "Federal court decisions on redistricting."

• "School finance."

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News reports this past week gave differing accounts of how well the House and Senate are working together. Let’s play Magic 8 Ball: have the chambers resolved their differences?

• "Both chambers are working with each other. The media is bored and making stuff up to fill their newspapers and websites. In other words, the media is trying to generate excitement of a rather boring session. News flash: the process we are seeing today is the same process which has taken hold for past sessions."

• "Outlook not so good at moment but you would think that a Republican Administration would get it done — and I'm hearing that may be the motivation needed — Republicans worried about re-election."

• "Patrick's problem isn't his shaky math, it's that he wants to pick a fight with Gov. Abbott."

• "Let's play another game, Legislative Monopoly and the House owns Park Place and Boardwalk with 3 hotels on each, 2 Railroads and the Electric Company and the Senate has no get out of jail free cards."

• "You left out the possible Magic 8 Ball responses of 'Don't Count On It,' 'Better Not Tell You Now,' and 'My Sources Say No' — all of which are applicable."

Our thanks to this week's participants: Gene Acuna, Cathie Adams, Jennifer Ahrens, Brandon Alderete, Clyde Alexander, George Allen, Jay Arnold, Charles Bailey, James Bernsen, Andrew Biar, Allen Blakemore, Tom Blanton, Chris Britton, Raif Calvert, Lydia Camarillo, Kerry Cammack, Elna Christopher, Harold Cook, Kevin Cooper, Randy Cubriel, Curtis Culwell, Denise Davis, June Deadrick, Tom Duffy, David Dunn, John Esparza, Jon Fisher, Tom Forbes, Dominic Giarratani, Bruce Gibson, Stephanie Gibson, Eric Glenn, Kinnan Golemon, Daniel Gonzalez, Jim Grace, John Greytok, Clint Hackney, Wayne Hamilton, Bill Hammond, Ken Hodges, Steve Holzheauser, Deborah Ingersoll, Mark Jones, Lisa Kaufman, Robert Kepple, Richard Khouri, Tom Kleinworth, Sandy Kress, Dale Laine, Pete Laney, Dick Lavine, James LeBas, Luke Legate, Myra Leo, Ruben Longoria, Vilma Luna, Matt Mackowiak, Jason McElvaney, Steve Minick, Mike Moses, Nelson Nease, Todd Olsen, Gardner Pate, Jerod Patterson, Robert Peeler, Tom Phillips, Gary Polland, Jay Pritchard, Jay Propes, Patrick Reinhart, David Reynolds, Carl Richie, Grant Ruckel, Tyler Ruud, Jason Sabo, Andy Sansom, Jim Sartwelle, Barbara Schlief, Stan Schlueter, Ben Sebree, Christopher Shields, Nancy Sims, Jason Skaggs, Ed Small, Martha Smiley, Larry Soward, Dennis Speight, Colin Strother, Sherry Sylvester, Sara Tays, Jay Thompson, Trey Trainor, Vicki Truitt, Corbin Van Arsdale, Ware Wendell, David White, Darren Whitehurst, Peck Young, Angelo Zottarelli.

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