Friday, November 30, 2018

#TXLEGE: Most ASININE Health Care Restriction You've Never Heard Of

"For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there."
James 3:16

Yesterday, the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute hosted an event related to Health Care policy.  Price Transparency was one of the major topics covered.  During that discussion, we learned about perhaps the stupidest batch of laws about which we've ever heard.

Did you know that it's illegal for insurance companies to share information with their customers about how much various providers charge them?!?  Neither did we.  But, apparently, it is.

This makes it impossible for insurance companies to discuss cost effective health care solutions, which leads to the bureaucratic morass we call the status quo.

One of the easier ways to reign in health care costs would be for insurance companies to share more information with customers.  Using more cost effective providers lowers premiums/co-pays/deductables/etc.  Unfortunately, in Texas, government policy literally makes that illegal.

Last session, Dustin Burrows filed HB 307.  Burrows' bill would have eased or reversed many of the restrictions described above.  Unfortunately, like so many bills under the old house leadership, it died in committee.

Fortunately, we have new leadership.  With new leadership comes opportunity.  If the new leadership wants to build momentum to tackle bigger issues (ie. property taxes/school finance), health care price transparency would be a good place to start.

Bottom Line: It's astonishing that this is the current law.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

#TXLEGE: The Bonnen Administration

Left to Right: Evan Smith, Mary Gonzalez, Jeff Leach, and Drew Springer

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Proverbs 29:2

We attended this afternoon's Trib discussion about the new house leadership.  It was very productive.  We should be cautiously optimistic about next session while understanding that it will require a different playbook.

From a conservative perspective, the most important takeaway is that Gordon Johnson is done.  We asked Jeff Leach and Drew Springer, point blank, about Gordon Johnson's influence over both the speaker selection process and his general influence over the GOP caucus moving forward.  Both Leach and Springer used the word "none."  That, by itself, is a game changer.

But beyond that, the tone really does feel different.  For example, Evan Smith asked whether the house members prioritized somebody who could "stand up to the Lt. Governor."  We were astonished to hear Drew Springer throw cold water on that narrative.  Springer explained that, rather, he wanted a speaker who "works better with the Senate."  Leach explained that one of the reasons Bonnen was able to unify the GOP caucus was because he has good relationships with Abbott and Patrick.  Even Mary Gonzalez threw shade on Straus' bad relationship with the Senate.  That's different.

The shift was most apparent in Springer.  Obviously, this website has had some very uncharitable things to say about Drew Springer over the yearsBut this does not sound like the same Drew Springer.  Last session, Drew Springer was a key player in killing property tax reform.  Today, Drew Springer was talking about how 93% of the Republican primary voters in his district voted for a lower rollback rate.  Springer also said some good things about not pouring education funding into bureaucracy.  That is, to put it mildly, new for Drew Springer.

Mary Gonzalez also made some interesting comments.  She called Bonnen's promises of a fair process to be "a huge shift."  Coming from a Democrat, that is quite a statement.  Gonzalez also said that Bonnen has made no promises regarding Democrat committee chairs.

One more interesting note: Jeff Leach gave an impassioned, well-informed, stemwinder on the subject of criminal justice reform.  He specifically talked about how leaving people to fester behind bars when it serves no rehabilitative or restorative purpose offends his convictions as a pro-lifer.  In so doing, he damn near got a standing ovation from a room full of Austin liberals.  Duly noted moving forward.

Bottom Line: We don't see how you walk out of today's session feeling anything other than optimistic....

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

#TXLEGE: BOMBSHELL Announcement from Bonnen and TPPF!!!

Bonnen, speaking at TPPF's policy orientation in 2016.

"endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:3

If you don't understand the Capitol, you won't get it; but this is huge:
AUSTIN—The Texas Public Policy Foundation is pleased to announce Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, potentially the next Speaker of the Texas House, will provide a keynote address on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, at 8:00 a.m. at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 17th Annual Policy Orientation.

“The Texas Public Policy Foundation is honored to host Rep. Dennis Bonnen for a keynote address at our Policy Orientation,” said TPPF’s Executive Director Kevin Roberts. “Texas has a unique opportunity in the next session to make progress on some of the most pressing challenges facing Texans and, as Rep. Bonnen has said, ‘the Texas House is ready to go to work.’ We look forward to hearing from, and working with, Rep. Bonnen and the rest of the Texas legislature this coming session.”
It is impossible to overstate the significance of this event.  One of the open secrets about the capitol in recent sessions has been the degree to which the Straus/Gordon Johnson team despises TPPF.  The Straus/Gordon Johnson team loathes TPPF more than any conservative organization.  That includes Empower Texans.

Five years ago,  TPPF was instrumental in publicizing the 83rd Legislature's 26% spending increase.  It was the most devastating attack the Straus/Gordon Johnson team ever faced.  They've never forgiven TPPF.

Dennis Bonnen agreeing to keynote TPPF's premiere event of the biennium means that TPPF will no longer be on the outs with the speaker's office.

Bottom Line: It's subtle, but it's huge....

#TXLEGE: About Larson's "Restore the Rivalry" Bill

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
Ephesians 6:1

Yesterday, Lyle Larson filed a football bill:
A Texas House member wants to bring back an annual football game between the state's two flagship universities: the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.

On Tuesday, state Rep. Lyle Larson, a San Antonio Republican who earned a bachelor's degree from A&M, filed House Bill 412, which would require the two teams to "play a nonconference, regular-season football game against one another on the fourth Thursday, Friday, or Saturday of November each year."
We confess mixed feelings, let us explain.


Our first reaction was that it's about damn time the legislature reminds the universities who's boss.

It's not a secret that this author has been advocating for many years for the legislature to shorten the leash on which the universities are kept.  Honestly, we've been at it so long that we've lost interest in the topic.  One can only be proven right so many times.

If football can be the topic that rouses the legislature to exercise its atrophied oversight authority, maybe that's the start of something good.

Lord knows, the two teams should certainly play each other.


That being said, for Lyle friggin' Larson to be the one filing this quite something.

Never forget: Lyle Larson was on the Wallace Hall impeachment committee.

This was a committee that spent a year and a half claiming that constitutional oversight of the higher ed. bureaucracy was "micromanaging."

Larson might be right on the substance.  The legislature has authority.  Still, for Lyle Larson to involve himself in football scheduling, when he turned a blind eye to criminal financial mismanagement is...ironic at best.

[Note: We could say the same thing about Larson's "Save Muny" bill from last session.]


Bottom Line: We don't have a problem with the substance of the bill, but the bill author's chutzpah is a sight to behold....

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

#atxcouncil: The Value of a DISSENTING Voice

"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:32

Last night, we attended a candidate forum between Frank Ward and his Adler-endorsed opponent for the open seat in district 8.

Ward is running as the only voice of dissent on council.  In a city where the local government is putting increasing levels of burden on the community, somebody needs to speak for those who are paying the bills.  Otherwise, the city hall special interests won't even have to explain their actions.  As Ward asked: "Does the council even need to meet if all major votes are passing 11-0?!?"

Ward's opponent, meanwhile, will be a rubber stamp for Adler.  She hasn't met a problem that government spending can't solve.  She even defended city's the CodeNext process [Note: The process, not the product].  Yikes!!!

On cue, council's current voice of dissent illustrated what principled opposition can accomplish:

Troxclair is referring to a program she shamed council into passing last year.  The program creates entry-level employment opportunities for Austin's homeless population.  The only reason it passed was because of the presence of someone who thinks differently.

Bottom Line: There are any number of reasons to support dissent on council.  Intellectual diversity ensures a voice for those who aren't city hall special interests.  At a minimum, it's a hedge against groupthink.  Early voting begins Thursday....

Monday, November 26, 2018

#TXLEGE: APPALLING New ##'s on Local Debt

"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
Proverbs 22:7

[Note: TPPF has a longer analysis here.]

Disgraceful, from TPPF:
AUSTIN – Preliminary data released by the Texas Bond Review Board found cities, counties, school districts, and special districts owe a total of $354.6 billion as of fiscal year 2018.

James Quintero, Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Think Local Liberty initiative, issued the following statement:

“Texas’ local governments are awash in a sea of red ink. New estimates show that total local debt grew to $354.6 billion in FY 2018 or more than $12,500 owed for every man, woman, and child in Texas. That’s an enormous sum of money to have to repay, and it has major public policy implications.

“Local governments are addicted to debt. Such a heavy dependence is right now forcing higher property tax bills, bigger government, and slower economic growth. In the future, it’ll mean that the Texans of tomorrow must bear a heavy burden. It’s time for the Texas Legislature to get a handle on the problem—before it’s too late.”
Keep in mind: That number is up $12 BILLION in two years and $32 BILLION in five.

Bottom Line: There are any number of long-term challenges, but local government debt WILL destroy Texas' economy if it's not addressed before too much longer....

Saturday, November 24, 2018

#TXLEGE: Vocational Training should become a higher educational priority

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

With education set to be a major topic of discussion next session, we've been thinking about smaller-ball ideas to improve the system.

One idea, to which we keep returning, is vocational education.

The problem is well known: Both nationally, and in Texas, we face shortages in all sorts of skilled trades.  These jobs pay well.  There's an economic needWhy not fill it?!?

So much of the bad blood that currently exists in the education debate surrounds different visions about the proper form of "academic instruction."  Well, guess what?!?  Under the status quo, many students are getting far more "academic instruction" than they need.

Another possible advantage: Right now, what skills training exists in Texas tends to come from community colleges.  By having ISD's take over this responsibility, you could potentially consolidate services between ISD's and community colleges.  Consolidation equals cost savings.  Cost savings should equal property tax relief.

The wild card is the education bureaucracy.  They might very well try to fight.  This is a fight we should welcome.  Unlike many education issues, this is easy for the public to understand and we should dare the educrats to stop us.

Bottom Line: This is a smaller-ball reform that ought to be achievable.  Our economy has the need.  What do we have to lose?!?

Friday, November 23, 2018

An Ugly Win to qualify for the Big-12 Championship Game

"If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."
1 Corinthians 3:15

For the second time in two days, the contrast with recent history speaks for itself.

Two years ago, the Longhorns went into Kansas needing a win to become Bowl eligible.  Instead, they lost.  That was the game that sealed Charlie Strong's fate.

Today, the Longhorns went into Kansas needing a win to qualify for the Big-12 championship.  They won.  That, right there, is the Tom Herman difference.

The game was ugly.  Sam Ehlinger threw two picks.  The offense was anemic for much of the game.  There was bonheaded play on special teams.

But the defense stepped up.  They held Kansas scoreless during the first half.  Then they made the plays they needed in the second half.  Jeffrey McCulloch's interception return saved the game.

An early, day after Thanksgiving, road game in front of a sparse crowd had all the signs of a letdown game.  But quality teams find ways to win when they don't have their A game.  And that's what the Longhorns did today.

Bottom Line: All we had to do was win.  It doesn't matter how the win materialized.  Big-12 championship game, here we come!!!

A Statement Win

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge," 
2 Peter 1:5

Start by thinking about the lead the Longhorns blew against Duke in the equivalent game last year.  Next, think about the lead the Longhorns blew in the tournament last year.  Compare those two losses to how they ground out the win last night.

The contrast speaks for itself.

Last night, the Longhorns fought off several late surges to upset #7 North Carolina 92-89.  They never surrendered the lead they took into halftime.  Every time North Carolina got close, Texas pushed it a little further.

Snoop Roach led with a dominant performance.  Career high 32 points.  We could get used to his second half dunks.

What's not to say about Dylan Osetkowski and Jaxon Hayes?!?  Osetkowski hit a key three pointer for the halftime lead then played key minutes down the stretch.  Hayes is a rebounding machine.

The only shortcoming was free throw shooting.  Had the Longhorns been better from the line, they could have put the game away several minutes earlier.  But the free throw shooting was good enough.

Bottom Line: A very encouraging sign....

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With Election Over, Appeals Court Confirms what Honest People already knew about Paxton Prosecution

"Do not go hastily to court;
For what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor has put you to shame?"
Proverbs 25:8

[Note: The Trib also has a write up here.]

Via Lauren McGaughy:
AUSTIN — More than three years after he was indicted, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is celebrating a major court ruling that will further delay his criminal fraud trials.

On Wednesday morning, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled the prosecutors pursuing charges against Paxton should have been paid a fixed, not hourly, rate. Their compensation broke local rules and state law, the court said, adding a six-figure invoice the prosecutors submitted for their work on the case need not be paid.

The prosecutors have threatened to step down if they lost this fight, forcing the state to look for new attorneys who’ll agree to pursue charges against the state’s sitting attorney general.
Well...duh.  This case has always been a corrupt quid pro quo between Paxton's political enemies and the special prosecutors.  Even if Paxton was ultimately exonerated, his political opponents would get to drag his name through the next election.  Likewise, even if Paxton was ultimately exonerated, the prosecutors would be able to get rich at taxpayer expense.

Furthermore, if the prosecutors had any confidence in their case, they would have proceeded a long time ago.  Had they obtained a conviction, nobody would have objected to their invoice.  But it's hard to have confidence in obtaining a conviction when similar civil charges have already been dismissed twice.  On the other hand, if your real objective was to use innuendo to drag Paxton's name through the mud until his re-election, events make total sense.

Bottom Line: We'll take the win, but it would have been nice if this completely obvious conclusion had been announced before the election....

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

#TXLEGE: Campbrell and Watson outline the 86th

"A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
But a faithful ambassador brings health."
Proverbs 13:17

We attended this afternoon's Trib event with Donna Campbell and Kirk Watson.

The TL,DR version is that untying the school finance/property tax knot is going to be the primary focus this next session.

Watson correctly pointed out that state formulas have pushed education funding down the local level in recent years, while Campbell correctly pointed out that any increase in state funding needs to be tied to performance metrics.

The recent election and health care were also discussed.


  • Bonnen's a St. Ed's alum.
  • Watson cites school finance and infrastructure as longstanding challenges.
    • Public wants "better priorities."
    • Note: Kirk Watson isn't wrong that these are longstanding challenges the public wants addressed, but Kirk Watson's preferred solution (pouring more money into the status quo) won't fix them,
  • Watson: More "early childhood translation education in traditional public schools."
    • Cynical interpretation: Brainwashing them younger and younger
    • Non-cyncial interpretation: Misguided idea that history has shown to be ineffective at promoting lasting academic gains.
  • Campbell: "Depends what we're going to do with it" re: More state-level education funding.
    • Have a conversation about "funding good performance."
  • 30 minutes in before Evan brings up rollback.
Bottom Line: School finance needs to be dealt with eventually.  Now is as good a time as any.  It'll be interesting to see how conservatives approach what is shaping up to be a "must pass" bill....

Monday, November 19, 2018

Rick Perry does what Rick Perry does

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil."
Jeremiah 13:23

San Antonio Express News over the weekend:
AUSTIN — U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry left the Texas governor’s mansion four years ago. But he is still tapping his Texas campaign account to fly wife Anita Perry around the globe for nuclear talks and to speak at international energy meetings, records show.

In Paris last year, Anita Perry spoke at a women in energy event. She also appeared alongside her husband in South Africa on a panel about natural gas, social media accounts show.

Most recently, the campaign paid $17,000 to fly Anita Perry to and from London last March for Saudi nuclear meetings, finance reports show. It’s not clear what role Anita Perry — a nurse — played at the closed-door talks, though campaign finance reports said she went for government related activities.


Rick Perry is one of several Trump cabinet members who have come under fire for racking up expensive bills on chartered jets and first-class flights.

When Anita Perry has accompanied her husband on international trips, the Department of Energy says taxpayers aren’t paying the bill. State campaign finance records show that Texans for Rick Perry — the campaign account that bankrolled the Republican’s runs for governor — has picked up the tab for at least $60,000 worth of her flight costs.


During 2017, the campaign paid roughly $50,000 to cover her travel to Vienna, Cape Town, Rome and Paris for events including Africa Oil Week, a G7 meeting and an International Atomic Energy Agency conference, records show.

Anita Perry traveled to Rome in April 2017 for a G7 energy ministers meeting as part of the official U.S. delegation. There, she spoke at a side event called “Africa 2030: Empowering the continent through innovation, green tech solutions and capacity building,” according to Politico.

In Paris last year, Anita Perry delivered a speech at a Women in Clean Energy event, where she was listed on the program as the former first lady of Texas and a “health, women and economic development advocate.”

Anita Perry flew to Cape Town in October 2017 as part of the department’s official delegation to Africa Oil Week, according to trade publication E&E News. Rick Perry’s campaign account reimbursed the U.S. Department of Energy for the cost of her flights, campaign finance reports said.


Texas candidates who leave office with leftover campaign money can give it away to charity and political campaigns or use the money to cover officeholder expenses. In past opinions, the Texas Ethics Commission has said the money can cover those costs when a candidate moves to federal office. Spending on a spouse is OK, so long as it’s in connection with the officeholder’s duties, the commission has said.
Of course, this should surprise precisely nobody who has observed Rick Perry over the years.

But it's still funny.

Bottom Line: Don't ever change Rick Perry....

Sunday, November 18, 2018

#DKR500, #HookEm: A Senior Night to Remember

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Confession: It was the first time we've ever cried on Senior night.

Kris Boyd, Charles Omenihu, Davante Davis, P.J. Locke, Jerrod Heard, Patrick Vahe and, of course, Breckyn Hegar (in pigtails, no less!).

We've always had a soft spot for Charlie Strong's 2015 recruiting class. That was the year talent began to return to the forty acres after the drop-off in the late Mack Brown years. It's had to believe they've played their last home game at DKR.

As for the game itself, it was the most dominant performance the Longhorns have turned in all season.  Following Oklahoma State's upset over West Virginia, Texas controlled its own fate.  They responded accordingly.

Sam Ehlinger continues to play like a monster.  He passed for one touchdown and ran for another.  His early game rhythm with Colin Johnson was a sight to behold.  Unfortunately, he sat out the second half due to injury.

But Shane Buchele didn't miss a beat.  He literally didn't have an incomplete pass the entire night.  Where Sam connected with Colin, Shane connected with Lil'Jordan Humphrey (including for one touchdown and several other impressive plays).

Speaking of Lil'Jordan, that guy's a superstar.  He needs to come back for senior year.  Right now, he's probably a mid-round draft pick, but a monster senior season would catapult him into the first or second round.  He should learn from Malik's mistake, wait a year, and make real money.

Tre Watson and Keontay Ingram deserve credit.  They've become a phenomenal duo.  Having a pair of backs who can bust 25 yards on any given play does wonders for your passing game.

Also, Breckyn totally had a sack in the second quarter.

Beyond the game was the atmosphere at DKR.  Electric doesn't cover it.  Unreal might be the place to start.

During the fourth quarter, they played "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.  Beginning with the student section, everybody used the flashlights on their phones to light up DKR.  Unfortunately, we were too busy enjoying the moment to capture video.  To understand what it was like, check out this author's twitter feed and watch any video we retweeted with the phrase "chills."

Bottom Line: This season has had its ups and downs.  But it's had a lot more ups, and a lot fewer downs, than any recent season.  With one game to go, we're masters of our own fate.  And it feels good.



Westlake High's Finest: Breckyn and Sam embrace
 following their final home game as teammates.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Early Season Promise

"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart."
Galatians 6:9

Yeah, we get it. You're supposed to blow out the Citadel in an early season non-conference home game. Well, guess what?!? These are exactly the type of games that have given the Longhorns fits in recent years.

Last night's blowout win came from a level of team play we haven't seen in ages.  In addition, there's a level of depth that allows the team to compete regardless of who's on the floor.  There's a world of difference between a seven man rotation and a ten man rotation.

The biggest change is that there now appears to be a legit inside presence on offense.  In addition to last season's breakout star Dylan Osetkowski, Jerico Sims and freshman Jaxon Hayes are stepping up.  And having a real inside game frees things up at the perimeter.

Speaking of the perimeter: What a night for Snoop Roach.  In addition to scoring his 1000th point in Burnt Orange, his second half dunk was the final momentum shift in the Longhorns favor.  Could be on his way to a monster senior season.

Elsewhere in the backcourt, sophomore Matt Coleman continued his solid play from last season.  Sophomore Jase Febres' scoring ability continues to improve.  That being said, Junior transfer Elijah Mitrou-Long (#55) might be this season's breakout star.

Obviously, Shaka Smart's tenure has been inconsistent (at best).  Still, his recruits are now sophomores and juniors.  The team chemistry that emerged down the stretch last season appears to have grown.  It'll be interesting to see where Shaka can take it.

Bottom Line:  You still need to play the games.  But there are no obvious red flags.  That's more than we can say about other recent seasons.

Snoop Roach's dunk up-close 

Dylan Osetkowski dunk

Friday, November 16, 2018

#TXLEGE, #atxcouncil: Appeals Court Buys Time on "Sick Leave" Entitlements

"Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?"
Matthew 20:15

From TPPF:
AUSTIN—Today, the Texas Third District Court of Appeals rendered its judgment in the paid sick leave case brought against the City of Austin by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. 
The judgment holds that the City’s paid sick leave ordinance violates the Texas Constitution because it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act and orders a temporary injunction to be put into effect immediately by the lower court. 
“Today’s ruling by the Texas Third Court of Appeals is cause for celebration,” said TPPF’s General Counsel Rob Henneke. “The ruling is an unequivocal win for our clients, whose rights were violated by the City’s ordinance. With today’s ruling, the case is remanded to the district court, who is ordered to enter a temporary injunction preventing the ordinance from becoming effective.”
This is a positive step.  That being said, we shouldn't kid ourselves.  Last week's election has made this lawsuit's path significantly more challenging.

Still, today's ruling buys time for either the legislature or SCOTX to act.

Bottom Line: We're not out of the woods yet, but today's ruling is a significant step in the right direction.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"More Sarah Davis" is NOT the solution for Texas Republicans

"having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!"
2 Timothy 3:5

The Resurgent has a piece this morning about the GOP's national challenges this past election revealed.  We agree with a lot of what the author had to say.  But it gets bizarre when the author turns to Texas:
Let’s look at a few success stories of moderate Republicans surviving in blue country.

1) Sarah Davis, a Texas state representative in Houston’s inner suburbs, survived 2018 even as the Republican Congressman went down to defeat:
Meanwhile, Culberson’s most problematic precincts relative to 2016 also fell inside House District 134, where Republican state Rep. Sarah Davis staved off Harris County’s blue wave to win re-election by almost seven points.
While Davis was winning by seven, Culberson lost by 5. She did that with a record of good governance while chairing the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services as well as the General Investigating & Ethics Committee.

Notably, Davis doesn’t thrill many GOP activists, including as she:
was on this year’s list of Texas Monthly’s best legislators (not for any partisan or ideological reason, but because she was an effective lawmaker). Davis has called herself a “rational Republican,” and if you look at Rice University political scientist Mark Jones’ Texas House liberal/conservative ranking, you’ll find that there is no Democrat to the right of Davis and no Republican to her left. She is the very definition of purple in the Texas House. [emphasis added in original]
She’s clearly no Trump Republican. Governor Greg Abbott helped lead an effort defeat her in her primary, including because of her Investigations & Ethics work. He failed.

​What’s more notable perhaps in her win amidst a tide of suburban blue was her platform:
“I have been a leading champion in the Texas House for women’s health, including providing more funding for cancer screening and preventive care,” said Davis. “I passed bills to make government more transparent and accountable to taxpayers, and supported a balanced budget that improves our roads and schools, invested a record amount in border security, and set aside $11 billion in the state’s ‘Rainy Day Fund’ in the event of a fiscal emergency.”
Notably not on the agenda: immigration, tax cuts, culture war issues, or even a hint of Trumpiness.

Not only did it work electorally, Davis survived in a district that the Houston Chronicle noted in its endorsement of her:
[she] fits well with her wealthy, highly educated constituents, who have a habit of voting for candidates instead of parties. In 2012 the district went for Mitt Romney by 15 points. In 2016 Hillary Clinton won by 15 points — and Davis did about as well.
Davis might not be at the critical mass of the Republican party under Trump, but she’s exactly the kind of suburban Republican the party needs nationally to retain a governing majority in Congress.
Moreover, there’s something to be said for running on a platform that appeals broadly to your constituents, not just the base…let alone a Trumpy one.
Yeah, not so much.

First things first: It's cute to hear Sarah Davis of all people bragging about protecting the Rainy Day Fund when she led the charge to raid it last session.

It's absolutely true that Republicans have to do a better job talking about immigration.  It's also true that, while they should oppose excesses of PC/woke culture, Texas Republicans have fallen into an intellectually lazy rut over culture war issues.  But Sarah Davis is the answer for neither of those issues.

Sarah Davis claims to be "fiscally conservative/socially moderate."  But she's not.  Property taxes are a gigantic issue in Harris County.   And Sarah Davis has never lifted a finger to address them.

Technically, Sarah Davis has filed a few CYA bills related to property taxes.  But those bills never go anywhere (because of the leadership Sarah Davis has supported).  We didn't even know Davis had filed those bills until we checked while writing this blog post.

Beyond property taxes, Sarah Davis consistently supports:
Sarah Davis is a GIGANTIC phony; gigantic phonies are no foundations upon which to build a movement.


The only reason Davis won as comfortably as she did was because Abbott botched the primary as badly as he did.


Bottom Line: There are definitely things that need to be done differently in suburban areas; turning a blind eye to property taxes while promoting more government involvement in health care are not those things....

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

#TXLEGE: Patrick, Bonnen, start off with Kumbaya

"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,"
2 Corinthians 5:18

OK, THIS is different:

Wow; you certainly never had Joe Straus and Dan Patrick issuing these sorts of statements heading into a session.

Bottom Line: It's still going to be a long, challenging, session. But at least it looks like Dennis Bonnen is prepared to negotiate in good faith with Dan Patrick. That's more than we can say about Dennis Bonnen's predecessor.