Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#TXLEGE: Responding to Straus' strange little letter

Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the Lord,
And their works are in the dark;
They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?”
Isaiah 29:15

Late yesterday afternoon, Joe Straus sent the following letter to Dan Patrick:

First things first, if you're negotiating in good faith, why would you say "both chambers have worked diligently" on the Governor's emergency items?!?  Everyone already knows the House slow-walked them all.  And they're still playing games on Ethics reform.

Furthermore, if you're negotiating in good faith, why would you highlight the House's actions on the property tax bill when they just gutted it?!?

Technically, Straus is correct that SB 1 and SB 310 are the only things the legislature needs to pass this session to assure continuity of government; but there's a big difference between continuity of government and a satisfactory end to the legislative session.

That being said, the following Senate bills remain in play and if they were to pass we would end this legislative session reasonably content:
  • SB 2 - Property Tax Relief
    • Note: The bill as it was passed out of the Senate is the bare minimum of what's acceptable.
  • SB 13 - Ending Mandatory Government Collection of Union Dues.
  • SB 19 - Public University Tuition Freeze.
  • SB 20 - Ending Abortion Subsidies in the Health Insurance Market.
  • SB 415 - Ending Dismemberment Abortion.
    • Note: We've heard talk this could be amended onto another bill; that's potentially a face saving way to move it forward.
  • SB 451 - Abolishing Municipal Regulations on Short Term Rentals.
  • SB 1151 - Protecting Free Speech on Public University Campuses.
As stated above, this is not an exhaustive list of bills we support (or bills the legislature should have passed), but if these bills pass (in their current form; note: Except SB 2, which needs to be fixed on the floor) we can accept the results from this legislative session.

In the event of a special session, we intend to make BIG asks on: Guns, Life, Taxes, and Municipal pre-emption.

Bottom Line: We suggest House leadership move forward with the bills listed above; they might not be crazy about the things for which we are currently asking, but we can assure them that they're going to HATE what we ask for in a potential special session.

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