After spending their first special session watching State Sen Wendy Davis’ (D) marathon filibuster and their second passing the abortion restrictions Davis was fighting against, the Texas legislature is back for a third session. Now, they need to handle the transportation measure that was the motivation for the original special session, before they got sidetracked with anti-abortion legislation.
Unfortunately for the state’s taxpayers, the extra time will cost them an additional $2.4 million. But one lawmaker has an idea for who should foot part of that bill: Davis herself.
State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he thinks Davis should be on the hook for the cost of the extra lawmaking sessions.
“I am upset at the cost,” Capriglione said. “I think we need to remember why we are having this extra special session. One state senator, in an effort to capture national attention, forced this special session. I firmly believe that Sen. Wendy Davis should reimburse the taxpayers for the entire cost of the second special session. I am sure that she has raised enough money at her Washington, D.C., fundraiser to cover the cost.”
Capriglione went on to boast that he was not accepting the $150 per diem for the special sessions, the reason for the additional costs, because he was “elected as a fiscal conservative.”
While Caprigilione says he was “trying to keep as small an expense as possible to the taxpayer,” Texas Republicans could have saved more money by passing the transportation bill during the first special session and skipping on the abortion restrictions altogether. They also could have worked to save their constituents money. The new restrictions will make getting an abortion more expensive, disproportionately impacting low-income and minority Texans.
Davis shrugged off the criticism, noting that Republican Gov. Rick Perry is the one who decides to add special sessions. “It’s unfortunate that the leadership in power squandered taxpayer dollars pursuing partisan politics before Texas priorities and forced an unnecessary special session,” she said.
Joseph Diebold is an intern with ThinkProgress.