Monday, March 18, 2019

#TXLEGE:Four Good Bills (and one STINKER)

"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."
Mark 16:16

{Note: The committee hearing can be viewed here; our testimony on the smoking age bill is about two and a half hours in, our testimony on the election integrity is about five hours in.]

We spent most of today in the Senate State Affairs committee.  We testified on two bills and dropped cards on two others.  Finally, we discovered a bill that, while we weren't aware it was getting a hearing today, is totally worth supporting.

The Good:
  • SB 13          Creighton               
    Relating to the ethics of public officials, including restrictions relating to lobbying and the personal financial statements of public officials; creating a criminal offense.

    This is similar to ethics legislation the House has killed in previous sessions. Testimony on the bill was closed by the time we arrived at the hearing. But this very worthwhile.
  • SB 9           Hughes                  
    Relating to election integrity; increasing criminal penalties; creating a criminal offense; creating civil penalties.

    This is the omnibus election integrity package. Others argued in-favor of it far more eloquently than we could. We're sure they'll write about it in detail as well. But this is must pass legislation for this session.
  • SB 29          Hall                    
    Relating to expenditures for lobbying activities made by certain entities.

    This is the Senate compainion to the ban on taxpayer funded lobbying. We were out of the room when they called us to testify. But there isn't anything to say on this topic we haven't already said.
  • SB 22          Campbell | et al.        
    Relating to prohibiting certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion provider or affiliate of the provider.

    This bill would prohibit municipal governments from subsidizing abortion providers; obviously, this bill doesn't prevent a single abortion, but it's nevertheless worthwhile.
The Awful:
  • SB 21          Huffman | et al.         
    Relating to the distribution, possession, purchase, consumption, and receipt of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products.

    The smoking age bill. Such a terrible bill for many reasons. Unfortunately, there's a good chance it will require the Governor's veto.

    Yeah, we know....
Bottom Line: For better or worse, bills are moving this session....

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