Legislature Adjourns Sine Die, Refuses to Pass Top Perry Priority

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Here is the short story. The House put a band aide on a bullet wound and then went to the bar to celebrate. The Senate was left to clean up the mess or put off the hard work to a later date.  They went with the latter and now the Governor has decide whether the threats for special session were rhetoric or policy.

Here is the long story.

The Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Insurance are under threat of sunseting before the next regular legislative session.

The next session won't start for a little under 2 years, but both agencies begin the sunset process in a little over a year and a half.  The gap required legislators to discuss a Sunset safety net to fix the gap.

The House put a quick and dirty solution together and voted out HCR 291.  HCR 291 was the proposed solution to keep TDI and TxDOT operating until next session since HB 1959 didn't get through the deadlines.

When the Republican led Senate couldn't figure out what to do in response to the Republican led House, Republican Troy Fraser made the motion to simply adjourn the Texas Senate Sine Die without fixing the problem.

According to Quorum Report, Leticia Van De Putte opposed the idea and told her colleagues in the Senate exactly what she thought.

San Antonio Democrat Leticia van de Putte was not satisfied with the response.  She pointed out that the Department of Insurance is also in danger of being sunsetted.

“What happens to consumers should be leave here with out authorizing the continuance of the Texas Department of Insurance (and TxDOT)?” Van de Putte asked.

[…]

“I'm afraid that we are shirking our responsibility. Just because the House has acted irresponsibly, does that mean they have to drag the Senate into it, too?” Van de Putte said.  “We are possibly facing legislative suicide with those two agencies.”

Needless to say, the nearly 2/3rd Republican chamber voted to adjourn without fixing the problem.

Now, Rick Perry has to decide whether addressing the agencies before the sunset really is a top priority of his or not.  If it is a priority, his only solution is to call a special session. If it was all political pandering and posturing, then say goodbye to TxDOT and TDI.

Regardless, this is what failed leadership looks like on every level.  This a failure of the House, Senate, and the Governor.  There wasn't a leader at any level and because of it, Republicans decided to go home instead of working through the problem.

Windstorm insurance was a huge priority for Rick Perry.  The hard work and push doesn't mean much without the Department of Insurance.

Clearly, more on this story as it develops.

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5 Comments

  1. Follow the money
    My understanding from a lobbyist friend is that state law prohibits Perry from engaging in campaign fundraising for a month before and a month after a special session — if that is indeed the case, I say there's no way we're having one this year.

  2. D. Shawn Stevens on

    Actually . . .
    . . . not to be a smart alec about it, but contributions can be made during a Special Session.  The restriction on contributions is for the period from 30 days before a Regular Session until 20 days after.  (Tex. Election Code Section 253.034)  

    You can draw your own conclusions based on what we know so far, but I suspect that perhaps the Republicans engineered the need for a Special Session on a pretext to cover for the real reason they want one called, photo voter ID.  However, the Governor will have a hard time justifying not dealing with homeowners insurance rates and the Texas Department of Insurance in a full way in a special in which he adds photo voter ID to the call.  We'll have to see if Perry is crazy enough do do that.  Unfortunately, the consensus seems to be that, yes, he that's crazy.

  3. D. Shawn Stevens on

    . . . also applicable is Texas Ethics Commission Rule 22.11(f)
    specifically exempting Special Sessions from the contribution restriction.  Part of the reason is that a Governor can call a Special Session on relatively short notice if s/he deems it necessary.

    • Tks
      Ah, good to know, DSS. As I said, I just heard it from a lobbyist who represents a cause that I do not particularly support, so I'm not surprised to hear that she got it wrong.

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