Will the third time be the charm? State lawmakers were called into another special session late Tuesday after failing to pass a multi-million dollar transportation plan on the final day of the second special session.
Governor Rick Perry issued a formal call for a third session about an hour after the House and Senate threw in the towel.
House leaders decided to give members a few days to decompress before starting back to work next week. They will try to re-boot legislation that could add more than $850 million a year for road construction and maintenance. House Speaker Joe Straus appointed a Select Committee to work out the details.
"It's a smaller group, I think we know the range of options that have been considered but not passed, so hopefully they'll start form there but have an open mind to work on some other things to attract the necessary votes," said Speaker Straus.
The sticking point in all this is how to divert money away from the Rainy Day fund in order to pay for the plan. While speaking with reporters after the House went into recess, Speaker Straus (R) San Antonio did not sound optimistic a compromise can be drafted.
"I can't promise you that we'll get there, but the members will make the good faith effort to find support for something that we can pass that will do something to improve transportation," said Speaker Straus.
While house members want to spend at least a little time crunching numbers the Senate is on the fast track. A few minutes after starting the third special session, Senate members suspended the rules and passed their own road funding legislation.
This part time legislative job has already eaten into a lot of personal and business time for members of both chambers.
"My law office is basically nonexistent now," said State Rep Harold Dutton (D) Houston.
The extend work period has reportedly been dubbed by State Rep Eddie Lucio (D) as "Camp Perry."
Cedar Park Republican Tony Dale, one of the freshman lawmakers in the House Chamber, is getting a crash course in juggling a private and public life.
"When you are in Session it's pretty hard to earn a living, I'm the only person in my business so it takes away from that, but you know you come into this with your eyes wide open you know what the sacrifice is," said Dale.
Several summer vacations have already been claimed by the over-time work under the Capitol Dome. State Representative John Kuempel said it was a hard phone call home Monday night when it became clear another Special Session was on the way.
"We've canceled two trips in the last two weeks, but again that's just part of a game," said the Republican from Seguin.
Lawmakers will have 30 days to work out a compromise that both Chambers can agree on. If it takes every one of those days, the cost to taxpayers for this third special session is estimated to be just over a million dollars.