Chad’s Morning Brief: Wrapping up the 83rd Legislative Session… Sorta & More
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of May 28, 2013. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am.
1. Legislative Session (link)
It didn’t take long for Governor Perry to announce a special session. The first special session has to do with redistricting and there could be more later. While lawmakers tackle that issue, the Texas Tribune points out that the regular session was full of lawmakers being nice to each other. According to the Texas Tribune, the partisan swords didn’t come out in this session compared to past sessions.
If Texas’ less-than-theatrical 83rd legislative session is remembered at all, it will be known for accords, not discord.
Lawmakers put down their partisan swords to expand financing for water infrastructure, women’s health, public education and the mentally ill, steering almost entirely clear of bitter ideological battles over immigration enforcement and abortion.
The state’s Republican majority pulled its weight in a few key areas, passing legislation requiring drug screening for unemployment benefits and preventing measures to expand Medicaid, the joint state-federal health care program for children, the disabled and the very poor, under federal health reform.
But Republicans themselves warded off some of the session’s most anticipated battles, like Sen. Dan Patrick’s “school choice” effort to finance scholarships so public school students could attend private schools.
And House Speaker Joe Straus’ reluctance to tackle redistricting — though Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Attorney General Greg Abbott wanted to — was an effort to keep Democrats in the fold, which is unlikely to last if the governor calls them into a special session on the issue.
Indeed, many of lawmakers’ hardest-fought initiatives this session — preventing wrongful convictions and prosecutorial misconduct, reforming high school diploma requirements and high-stakes testing, and curbing the authority of regents of the state’s public university systems — did not fall along party lines.
Behind the curtain, there were many forces at play: a more robust state budget; the biggest freshman class in years; a Republican base just small enough to require allegiances with Democrats or the Tea Party, depending on the issue; and the soon-to-be-revealed political aspirations of Perry, along with the chessboard of elected officials waiting for him to make his move.
In many ways, the most gripping stories of the 2013 legislative session happened outside of the House and Senate chambers.
I’m not sure that playing nice is what the voters had in mind when they elected all these lawmakers. What happened to standing up for what you believe in?
2. Bills Sent to the Governor (link)
Over the weekend, Governor Perry vetoed SB 346 aka the dark-money bill. Many more bills have been sent to the Governor though. In fact, over 1,300 bills had been sent to the Governor at the time of this blog.
Texas Tribune has a great site where you can view the bills that were sent to the Governor as well as those signed, vetoed, and unsigned. Click on the link above to check it out.
3. What’s Next for Perry?
It could be a long summer for lawmakers in Austin. There is the possibility that more than one special session will be called, so I don’t expect Governor Rick Perry to announce his intentions for reelection for at least another month or two.
However, I still expect that Governor Perry will not seek reelection. He isn’t being forced out by anyone and I don’t believe he is worried about a challenge from Texas A.G. Greg Abbott. Instead, I believe the Governor wants to take some time, maybe write a book and rest. Then he will get ready for a 2016 run.
What do you think Governor Perry should do?
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These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com