Before today's announcement of a special session, Gov. Rick Perry's office had been working with the family of wrongfully convicted inmate Tim Cole to arrange a symbolic bill signing of the Tim Cole Act in Fort Worth next Wednesday, Cole’s birthday, Perry's office has confirmed.
Someone with the Governor’s office called Wednesday night to inform Cole's family that the event had to be postponed because Perry was going to launch his special session that day, according to Cory Session, Cole's brother.
Perry's office hopes to reschedule the event, spokesperson Katherine Cesinger said.
The Tim Cole Act increases state compensation for wrongfully convicted Texans and was signed by Perry in May.
The Tim Cole Act was one of two major bills Cole's family pursued during the legislative session. The other measure -- a constitutional amendment empowering the governor to grant posthumous pardons to Cole and other wrongfully convicted people -- didn't make it to Perry's desk.
Session said he was "mystified" that Perry's special session agenda doesn't including the pardon measure.
Perry had supported the pardon bill during the regular session and expressed disappointment when it didn’t pass. The Associated Press reported that Perry has already said he will not add any other issues to next week's special session.
“There’s a wound that’s there and it needs to heal,” Session said. “If I have to run for governor myself one day to get Tim’s name cleared, then trust me I will.”
Cole, who died in prison in 1999, was exonerated by a Travis County judge this year after DNA testing cleared him of the rape of a Texas Tech student.
Session said a pardon is the only way to completely clear his brother’s name. Perry’s office has said the governor is unable to grant the pardon unless voters approve the amendment.