The end game

Posted in 81st Legislature, Around The State, Commentary, Elections, The Lege, Uncategorized at 11:47 am by wcnews

TxDOT Sunset is dead for this session. The only question left if will TxDOT live for two more years or will it take a special session to revive it. Burka does a great job of laying out the politics of this, A way out of the carnage.

It is possible for to salvage the safety-net bill. It will require a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules in the House. That margin does not exist at this moment. Democrats are angry that the safety-net bill pushed back a review of the workers’ comp system for four years — this in spite of the widespread recognition that the system is broken and requires fixing. If the rules can be suspended, the safety-net bill would likely pass with a simple majority, and the review of agencies whose Sunset bills failed to pass could be put off to 2011.

But the Democrats need an incentive to lift their objections to the safety-net bill. Well, they have a bill on life support that they would like to see become law: the CHIP expansion. That bill too probably has more than a majority in support but less than the 2/3 necessary to suspend the rules.

So the makings of a deal are present. The Republicans want the safety-net Sunset bill. The Democrats want CHIP. If the parliamentary rules allow it, a combined motion to suspend the rules on both bills and pass both bills has a chance to get the necessary 2/3 margin.

If the Democrats continue on the destructive course they have followed since the beginning of the marathon chub, they will put themselves at risk. Governor Perry is not likely to call a special session on a purely political issue like Voter I.D. But he will have to cause a special session if the safety-net bill fails. And that gives him a chance to add Voter I.D. to the call. The way out is to suspend the rules and pass both bills. The Republicans get the safety-net bill, which they want, and Democrats get CHIP, which they want.

Most involved would rather there not be a special session, so it’s likely there will be a deal. CHIP expansion in needed too, but to avoid a special, in which voter suppression could com up again, the the safety net bill will have to pass before Midnight. It’s been a while since Texas has had a Midnight Sine Die, and this one may last that long.

BOR has more on how this may all play out, Speak Straus’ Absolute Power.We’ll just have to wait and see if a deal can be reached or someone blinks. Summer in Austin is nice, but it’s much nicer without the Legislature.

McBlogger does a great job of explaining his support for Sen. John Carona’s filibuster, which EOW agress with 100%.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all in love with Carona now. I think his alliance with Nichols is unholy and his decision to filibuster HB 300 is based only on the elimination of the local option, not on the transportation bank. Or privatization in general or converting existing, paid-for highways into private tollways. Or the fact that the reco’s of the Sunset Committee (like electing TxDOT officials) has been completely left out. Stripped, in part, by Carona himself. Yes, the loss of local option in conference is irony at it’s finest. Still, if the result is the same (the death of HB 300) then it’s all good.

The funniest thing about all this is the Republican opposition to the local option, to giving the voters a direct say in how we fund transportation in this state. They’ve made it very clear by opposing this that their primary concern is not what’s best for Texans… it’s enriching investment bankers by privatizing roads.

So, here’s to hoping that either the House kills HB 300, or Carona does. It’s a bad bill and it truly needs to die.

This was a bad bill with or without the local option gas tax.

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