Update on the Lege

Posted in 81st Legislature, Around The State, Commentary, Elections, Privatization, Road Issues, Transportation at 9:49 am by wcnews

The Texas GOP voter suppression bill, aka the single most important issue facing Texas today, still threatens to keep the issues Texans need to get done this session from getting done. Anyone who still doesn’t understand how this bill suppresses votes the should read Policy Primer [.pdf] on the legisaltion from the Legislative Study Group (LSG). Here’s the jist of who votes would be suppressed.

Voter ID Laws Suppress Turnout Among Certain Groups
Nonpartisan and academic studies do indicate that Voter ID proposals threaten the most basic right in a democracy – the right to vote - a right that should never be compromised by partisan legislation or in reaction to unsubstantiated threats. These studies found that Voter ID laws suppress voter participation by seniors, renters, women, the poor, and people of color – those who would be less likely to possess a government-issued photo ID reflecting their current name and address.

The issue was debated Sunday morning on KXAN and Democrat Harold Cook does a great job debating TxDOT chair Diedre Delisi’s husband Ted on the GOP side.

The AAS has an article on what’s issues have been delayed because of the GOP putting partian legislation ahead of what needs to be taken care of this session, At outset of final week, everything is unresolved or dead. It’s key to remember that it’s always possible to take up bills out of order. Even after the “deadline” as long as 100 members agree. Glenn Smith asks the question, Haven’t We Seen This Before? Oh yeah, it was…

The DMN has a good article on the other huge mess in the lege this session, transportation. The bill in the Senate hopes to subsitute, nor merge, their proposal for the what the House passed. The DMN is being extremely nice to the Senate, since they are using little, if any, of what the house passed earlier this month.

The Senate bill is a witches’ brew of proposals, from gas tax schemes to toll road dreams, that would further Gov. Rick Perry’s pursuit of private toll roads, give lawmakers more direct oversight of the Texas Department of Transportation and let North Texas counties ask voters to raise their own taxes to build more roads and, perhaps, more rail lines.

But the one thing it would not do is radically prune the power of the Texas Department of Transportation, and that might just be enough to kill it altogether. A version that passed the House this month would be far stricter with the 14,000-employee agency and would give local planning councils the upper hand in making decisions about roads and bridges.

Whatever the Senate approves some time early this week would head to a conference committee, where five members from each chamber will try to settle on a version. If they can’t agree, every significant idea for changing transportation policy this year would be in jeopardy.

The DMN has also got the scheme and the dream mixed up. Tolls have always been the scheme, and the gas tax the dream. No matter what the Senate passes, it appears both chambers are at an impasse on the issues of the local option gas tax and changes to TxDOT.

As the days left the legislative session dwindles, Gov. Rick Perry has finally decided to stop campaigning for reelection, set aside secession talk for now, and try and get some things accomplished. Via the HChron, Perry works with lawmakers to salvage bad year.

And last but not least this excellent post from Texas Kaos on the Texas related news you may have missed, Feeding Texas News Through the Media’s Buzz Saws. Especially this one which is particularly horrible,
KBR Got Bonuses for Work that Killed Soldiers.

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