Starting with the phrase “20 in 20” and continuing through the Governor’s threats to note all who oppose “his” 20 items, this special session has been particularly galling. When I say “his” agenda, I think we all know that this is not the Governor’s at all but that of the LG. Pandering to the LG is a sad way to run the State but, after all, the election cycle has started along with the headline grab!
What I find most troubling is the effort by the LG to push through legislation with somewhat limited discussion. His moves to quash parliamentary procedures in order to get “his way” do not serve the majority of the citizens in the State despite his statements that he is doing what citizens want to have done. And, so far at least, that seems to be working for him … but there is still hope that sanity will prevail in the House.
The Speaker has been accused of plodding through the items on the Governor’s call but what is wrong with a thorough vetting and discussion of the issues impacting each area? In fact, Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune wrote an article earlier this week in which he referenced the tortoise (House) and the hare (Senate). Under the Speaker's leadership and the leadership of Public Education committee Chairman Huberty, I am hopeful that the discussions from the 85th will continue and that the House will continue to hold the line on an anti-voucher (by any name) position as well as focusing on how to adequately fund our public school system.
I doubt seriously that the LG’s goal of “20 in 20” will be achieved although there is certainly a possibility (and increasing probability) that the Senate will pass legislation addressing each of the items on the Governor’s call. But is that what this is really all about? Perhaps the only good news is that any shortening of the special session would result in some savings of the monies wasted in calling this session.
I am not suggesting that the session go the full 30 days but what seems most important is a thorough vetting of ideas and legislation, not just a race to see how quickly the legislature can get to the finish line in addressing each item. As sanity prevails in the House, regardless of the outcomes and whether decisions align with my personal interests, I hope that the topics will get the attention they deserve and that, rather than a headline grab, the legislature focuses on doing the right thing, not just the politics and bullying driving actions in the Senate.