Verizon-Backed Bill Has 30 More Days

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Like the regular session before it, the special session of the Texas legislature -- which is considering a statewide franchise bill supported by Verizon Communications Inc. -- timed out Wednesday at midnight, but not before Gov. Rick Perry called another 30-day special session to allow the government to complete its business.

Now the question remains whether the legislature can resolve its most difficult issues -- education and property-tax reform -- so it can move onto other issues before it, including the bill that will authorize broadband over power lines, in addition to easing the transition of telephone companies into cable.

That bill seemed to be moving on a fast track, having cleared most of its stages. It needs a vote of the full Senate to approve the version overwhelmingly approved in the House, but the bill has seen no action since July 17. First, action slowed as lawmakers left the capitol to check on tropical-storm damage in their home districts, then everything stopped but debate over education funding.

Two hours before the session ran out Wednesday at midnight, the governor authorized a new, longer special session.

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