Friday, April 5, 2019

#TXLEGE: Hughes should come clean about whatever deal he cut with Huffman

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."
Colossians 2:8

A bill to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products was voted out of the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday by the narrow margin of 5-4.

Authored by the committee’s chairman State Sen. Joan Huffman (R–Houston), the bill passed with the support of both Democrats on the committee, State Sens. Eddie Lucio (Brownsville) and Judith Zaffirini (Laredo), in addition to Republican State Sens. Jane Nelson (Flower Mound) and Bryan Hughes (Mineola).

Hughes provided the pivotal vote to send the legislation to the full body, but his office told Texas Scorecard that Hughes said he voted the bill out of committee “to let debate occur on the floor,” but intends to oppose it upon its arrival because the issue is a matter of personal liberty.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
That's asinine.  Everybody knows that, in the Texas Senate, bills are only discussed on the floor once they have the votes to pass (see here).  Taken at face value, Hughes' decision is the type only a chump would make.  We originally intended to write a blog post discussing such chumpish asininity.

But let's get real: Bryan Hughes almost certainly cut a deal with Joan Huffman.  He's probably getting something for that vote.  Furthermore, it's almost certainly something we'd like.

Whatever it is, Hughes should fess up.

One of the biggest problems with the Texas Senate is the amount of policymaking that occurs "behind the scenes."  The public just (kinda sorta) sees the final product.  It's the type of thing more suited to philosopher-kings than a republic.

Obviously, Bryan Hughes didn't invent that aspect of Senate culture.  But he could have taken a small step towards changing it.  Would have been nice.

Bottom Line:  On the surface, this vote looks terrible.  But there's probably more to the story.  Nevertheless, you can't blame folks for assuming the worst (esp. this session) if they don't know the details of that "more to the story."

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