Dewhurst, CHIP & Children - [UPDATED]

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, Commentary, The Budget at 10:47 am by wcnews

Today begins the debate in the Senate over the budget - see preview here. In preparation there was a press conference yesterday, with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and a few Senators. At Burkablog Patricia Kilday Hart reports that things got interesting during the press conference between the Lt. Gov. and SAEN reporter Gary Scharrer.

Then Dewhurst’s temperature started to rise. The whole argument about twelve-month eligibility versus six-months “has been made up by zealots and magnified by the press,” he said.

Of which he believes Mr. Scharrer is one of the magnifiers of zealotry. From Scharrer’s article today, CHIP backers say they’ve lost patience with Dewhurst.

The House version of the budget returns the CHIP enrollment period to 12 months, where it was before lawmakers slashed the program four years ago to save money.

Many families do not re-enroll every six months, which drops children from coverage. Dewhurst has said most Texans don’t have much sympathy “for someone that can’t fill out a two-page application every six months.”

The Democrat-supported Lone Star Project in Washington reported this week that Dewhurst failed to file necessary forms at least six times in recent years for companies that he owned or controlled.

“It’s certainly an important thing for the leader of the Texas Senate to be as punctual as the poor people that he expects to be punctual,” (Rev. Kevin Collins, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Houston and a leader with The Metropolitan Organization) said. “And, of course, he’s probably got several lawyers who can do this for him, whereas the poor people of Texas have to do this all by themselves. It’s a shame. He’s out of touch.”

Oh the hypocrisy. But that’s not the Lt. Gov.’s only problem. Some of Dewhurst’s ire is because his other child-championing issue is being held up due to issues that prosecutors, who will have to live with the proposed law, have with it. (It’s so bad even WC DA John Bradley thinks it needs to be changed). More from Burkablog:

The meltdown was perhaps not surprising given the stress Dewhurst has been under recently. Senate members unhappy with his leadership have tried to round up votes to block the budget bill on the floor to protest Zaffirini’s appointment to the conference committee. And Dewhurst’s banner campaign issue — Jessica’s law — has been stalled for lack of votes on the Senate floor.

Dewhurst’s position on Jessica’s Law has frustrated many senators, who oppose it on the advice of prosecutors and victim’s groups. They say an automatic death penalty would actually make it more difficult to prosecute cases as victims must often testify against family members. An automatic death penalty would likely silence those victims.

Negotiations have been ongoing, though senators question the presence of Dewhurst political advisers at those meetings. Dewhurst at one point told a senator he would campaign against him in his district if continued to oppose the bill.

More zealots!! They’re all around when you are for bad public policy.

With the Senate finally getting serious this session with today’s budget debate we will now get to see Lt. Gov. Dewhurst in action since his reelection. We will see if he is facing opposition not only from Democrats but from Republicans too as he tries to get his signature issues for his 2010 race for governor through the legislature - keep an eye on what Texas Rush does, he may be Dewhurst’s competition form the right in 2010.

[UPDATE]: The Dewhurst v. zealots saga continues, from Burkablog, Dewhurst/Interfaith Group Miscommunication Continues.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Talking Good, Ignoring Bad said,

    April 17, 2007 at 9:18 am

    […] week when Lt. Gov. Dewhurst wouldn’t meet with clergy members and leaders of a community action group there was much angst from the Lt. Gov. […]

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