Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 30: The Governor's Earth Moving Equipment

Today is the 30th day of the 82nd regular session of the Texas Legislature. The House reconvenes as 10:00 am, the Senate at 11:00 am.

Yesterday's "State of the State" address by Gov. Rick Perry was a pro forma "government is bad, regulation is bad, business is good" diatribe. If you can stomach reading the full text it is available HERE. In an irony no doubt lost on the man who has repeatedly tried to prevent queer people from talking about their relationships in public, Perry opened by thanking his wife Anita. He then went on to praise the Boy Scouts for making him who he is, so now we know who to blame.

Perry blamed the states 27 billion dollar budget crisis on everyone but the Republican controlled legislature who passes the budget, including: President Obama, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, the Environmental Protection Agency and illegal immigrants. All this while asking for more money for his personal "economic development" funds. State Rep. Jessica Farrar, president of the House Democratic Caucus, summed it up nicely "The first rule to being in a hole is stop digging. Perry traded his shovel for a backhoe,"

Still no movement on any of the bills we're watching. The Senate Education Committee (which has the Senate version of anti-bullying legislation) has not scheduled a hearing this week. The House still does not have committee assignments (no committee assignments = no committee hearings = no legislation) . A capitol staffer told me that the rumor mill has suggested that Speaker Joe Straus (who makes committee assignments) is waiting until the final report from the House Election Contest Select Committee to issue assignments.

The Select Committee was appointed to report on the contested election of Rep. Donna Howard (D-Travis County) in House District 48. Howard's opponent, Dan Neal, has been challenging her election (which was won by a narrow 16 votes), since November - charging that ballots where improperly counted. Howard has maintained her narrow lead after every recount. The report from the Select Committee is expected on Friday. If the rumors about the reason for Staus's tardy assignments are true, that means it may be next week before we have committee assignments.

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