So much for Democrats being irrelevant this legislative session.
No single bill has been passed, a first budget proposal was only just released, and a leading Democrat already has a legislative victory this session. It will prove a victory for all Texans; a victory led by the state's inconsequential major party.
The Texas State Senate passed its rules for the 2011 Legislative Session, and they're not much different from the last. One major exception exists, though. From the office of Senator Kirk Watson:
The Texas Senate on Wednesday adopted an important part of Senator Watson's Honesty Agenda for fiscal transparency in the state, voting to require a vital budget document to be public for 48 hours before senators finish their work on the Texas budget.
“This new window into the Texas budget is a good step forward,” said Senator Kirk Watson, a strong advocate for budget openness and honesty in Texas government. “Today's vote gives hard-working Texans an important and essential tool to see whether the budget finally addresses the challenges they face. It allows them to make sure the legislature followed through on moral commitments that are critical to maintaining Texas' economic edge.”
With the hardest budget challenge in modern times facing us this session, Texans will have an opportunity that they have missed in recent years. Two days of Honesty; Two days of Win. The opportunity for citizens to review our state's final spending plan before it is passed will be crucial. They'll be the most crucial days of this session.