Thursday, July 27, 2017

#TXLEGE: Straus mendacious as ever and NEVER going to change (without Gubernatorial intervention).....


"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,"
Hebrews 12:1

[UPDATE: According to Empower Texans, Workman withdrew the amendment voluntarily so Straus didn't have to rule it non-germane.  That's a separate hot mess (as is the fact that NO Freedom Caucus member advanced their own amendment to force the issue), but it's not lawlessness in the way we'd originally reported.  We've updated the post accordingly.]

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While we've had our suspicions about what would happen, to this point in the special session we've been content to let the process play out.  We knew the time would come when events would paint a clear picture.  That happened today.

HB 7 (Phelan) is a pathetic impersonation of the tree bill that Governor Abbott has requested from the legislature.  It was heard alongside the real tree bill in the urban affairs committee on Tuesday [Note: We signed in against but did not testify].  The difference between Phelan's bill and the real tree bill is that Phelan's was voted out while the real tree bill languishes in committee.

But here's the real kicker: This was a reprise of a bill that was vetoed by the Governor in June; as the Governor explained:
Senate Bill 744 appears to be a compromise bill that imposes a very minor restriction on some municipal tree ordinances. But in doing so, it gives the imprimatur of state law to the municipal micromanagement of private property, which should be abolished altogether. This bill was well-intentioned, but by the end of the legislative process it actually ended up doing more to protect cities than it did to protect the rights of property owners.
Obviously, the disrespect was deliberate.

But hope had yet to be lost; Paul Workman was planning to use a floor amendment to attach the real tree bill to Phelan's shell bill.

Then Workman inexplicably withdrew his amendment.  And the House members did nothing.  And NO Freedom Caucus member offered their own amendment to force the issue.  Ultimately, 132 members (including five from the Freedom caucus) voted to pass Phelan's bill without any amendments.
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So, where do we go from here?!?

Honestly...it's up to Abbott.  It's his agenda that's on the line.  And he's the one who was explicitly dissed today.

If Abbott gets actively involved, plenty of time remains to go 20 for 20.

If Abbott doesn't get actively involved, according to Capitol sources, Straus only intends to move: the less important pro-life items (note: looks good on a campaign mailer), annexation (note: being from San Antonio, Straus personally needs this), something related to school finance (note: he'll push for the Huberty bill then settle for an interim study) and maternal mortality.

Absent Abbott's involvement, everything else is dead in the House.

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Governor Greg Abbott: (512) 463-2000

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