Within less than a week of their filing by Rep. Simpson on June 14, HB 70 and HB 73 had garnered a remarkable 120 and 116 authors each, respectively.
“86 percent of our state’s fire departments are either volunteer or combination volunteer and paid,” said Simpson. “With wildfire season upon us in the middle of a drought, it is a necessity for us to provide proper training and equipment to the brave men and women who will be fighting those fires.”
Gov. Rick Perry recognized the urgency of the situation when he renewed the drought emergency declaration, saying: “These drought conditions have reached historic levels and continue to pose an imminent threat to public health, property and the economy.”
Simpson continued, “The House evidently agrees with the Governor — given the dire conditions, Texas needs to make immediate preparations for defending our homes and property from fires. We respectfully asked the Governor to add appropriations for the VFD Assistance Fund to the Special Session call.”
Alas, the session adjourned earlier this week without that happening. It ended on a sour note with legislators debating one of the so-called “social issues” that really shouldn’t be taking up the time of state lawmakers to begin with.
Gov. Perry on Wednesday called another special session to begin on July 1 and once again deal with the “social issue” as well as a couple of others, but not with the VFD Assistance Fund issue.