Palm Door on Sixth
"...Opening day of the 83rd Texas Legislature..."
"...Organized by the Texas Observer, the Texas Legislature Very Special Session Panel will talk about how the 83rd session and the resulting special sessions have gone/are going. Expect a lot of talk about the ongoing abortion fight, education funding, the rise of Democratic Sen..."
"...The first called special session of the 83rd Legislature begins in earnest Thursday morning as the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting holds their first, and seemingly only, public meeting...."
"...There's a line in the film Magnolia: "We might be through with the past, but the past ain't through with us." As the 83rd Legislature's regular session limped to an end on Memorial Day, lawmakers knew they would be back for a special session; what they didn't know was how fast. Ultimately, they didn't even have time to return to their hotel rooms, as Gov..."
"...In that political context, women's health advocates aren't optimistic about the new Legislature. Will lawmakers comprehend how recent policies have led to the destruction of the health care safety net, or will they continue to push a social agenda wrapped in regulations and budget cuts, despite its disastrous effects on the state's most vulnerable women and families? "It is irrefutable, the public health damage that has been done," says Wheat..."
"...In 2011, Republican lawmakers swaggered out of the Legislature crowing how their conservative budget had cut spending. As this 83rd Legislature wrapped up its business, lawmakers reversed the program-slashing trend of two years ago and coincidentally proved that the old cuts were smoke and mirrors..."
"...In a letter to Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, McCarthy's attorney Maurie Levin pointed out that at the time of McCarthy's trial racial discrimination "pervaded" the county's jury selection process. Levin also noted that Watkins had told The Dallas Morning News that he would advocate during the recently concluded 83rd Legislature for passage of the Texas Racial Justice Act, which would allow death row inmates to appeal based on claims that racism played a role in their conviction...."
"...The last minutes wound down on Gov. Rick Perry's first special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature, and it seemed certain that the Senate Republican majority couldn't be stopped in its determination to impose draconian regulations on abortion and women's health care..."
"...Those were the three measures Gov. Rick Perry put on the call for the first special session of the 83rd Legislature..."
"...The situation is so bad that even his replacement, former Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams, hand picked by Gov. Rick Perry, has told the legislature that he needs more full time employees to run the office..."
"...Technically, the second called special of the 83rd Texas Legislature ends at midnight tonight. But, in reality, they may as well call sine die now, as there is no sign that a deal will be reached over the last item on the call: Transportation...."
"...With the veto deadline passing June 16, the body count of dead bills stands at 26, plus line-item vetoes on both the 2014-2015 biennial budget in Senate Bill 1, and the supplemental appropriations in House Bill 1025. While the Legislature could theoretically override Perry's veto by a two-thirds majority in both chambers, as Speaker Joe Straus informed his House colleagues, that's never happened...."
"...Elsewhere in this issue ("Will Texas Do Better?"), we take another look at the prospects of the upcoming 83rd Legislature, largely through the perspective of the prefiled bills. We don't claim to be exhaustive: Several hundred bills are already filed, and several thousand will hit the committees in the next couple of months, most of them destined never to reach the floor..."
"...Day seven of the third special session of the 83rd Texas Legislature, and the House will meet today for another attempt to provide $1 billion a year extra for road construction and maintenance. The big question now: Can the House and Senate reach an agreement on how this affects the Rainy Day Fund?..."
"...Of course, it's been pointed out many times that should the Legislature remain in session longer and more frequently than five months every two years, the amount of mischief accomplished would only multiply. There's certainly much to be said for that theory (e.g., see below)..."
"...The issue of racial bias is also central to the ongoing case of Duane Buck, sentenced to death in 1997 for the double murder of Debra Gardner, his former girlfriend, and Kenneth Butler in Houston; a third victim, Phyllis Taylor, survived the attack. Last week, 102 people – including Taylor, 10 members of the Legislature, one former governor, and a former Harris County prosecutor who helped to try his case – signed a letter imploring Harris County D.A..."
"...Not only did the Legislature pass a budget that cuts total spending by $15.2 billion and general revenue spending by $1.6 billion, but it also had to use smoke and mirrors to cover its tracks. Here are some of the more egregious accounting tricks..."