By the News Staff, Fri., May 29, 2009
• Mixed results for enviro bills: Senate Bill 546, forcing utilities to double investments in efficiency programs, will go to the governor, but SB 545 (promoting solar energy) and SB 16 (omnibus clean-air bill) appear headed for death by chubbing. "We'll choke on our own incompetence," said SB 16 author Kip Averitt, R-Waco.
• If signed by the governor, House Bill 1959, dealing with several agencies up for Sunset review, will also require Sunset scrutiny for Capital Metro, but without the possibility of abolition.
• The civilized regions of America banned poll taxes back in 1964 with ratification of the 24th Amendment, but stubbornly racist Texas refused to sign on. House Joint Resolution 39, passed last week, symbolically rectifies that stain by post-ratifying it. As Senate sponsor Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, put it: "I move passage, better late than never."
• SB 476, which would elevate the role of nurses in hospitals' staffing decisions, is headed to the governor's desk. Austin's Donna Howard authored the House version. The Texas Hospital Association and Texas Nurses Association support it, but the National Nurses Organizing Committee criticized it for lacking teeth.
• Edmund Kuempel update: The Seguin House Republican is still in the hospital after his May 12 collapse and had a pacemaker installed on Tuesday. He may miss the rest of the session but promises to return for the sine die parties.
• After weeks of delay, the House three-on-three basketball tourney is set to go on as we go to press. If it gets canceled again, San Benito Democrat Rep. Eddie Lucio III said he'll request a special session to tackle this important business.
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