Lege Lines: Elsewhere Under the Dome
Sine die is almost here
Are we done yet? Sine die, the end of the session, takes place Monday, May 29, meaning legislators and staffers will be busy on Memorial Day. But that's not the end of this: As approved bills head to his desk, Gov. Greg Abbott still has until June 20 to veto any measure... Lawmakers are still awaiting details on the conference committee version of Senate Bill 1, the state budget for the 2018-19 biennium. The bicameral body dropped a draft of the weighty document on May 22, but Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said they still have to finalize numbers... Fears of a budget special session appear to be fading, but may be replaced by a redistricting session. In the ongoing case of Perez v. Abbott, Texas Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez wrote on May 22 that both sides should consult with their clients about "whether the State wishes to voluntarily undertake redistricting in a special session" after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a brutal ruling against a similar gerrymandering effort in North Carolina... No word yet on when Abbott will sign HB 100, overturning city regulations on ridesharing. The measure has been on the governor's desk since May 18, and when he signs it, will go into effect immediately. Austinites who used to drive for Uber and Lyft before they quit the city report that the company has been requesting they update their insurance information on their website... Shout-out to @txlegequeens, the hottest parliamentarian fangirl account on Twitter, and one-stop source for any GIFs of assistant parliamentarian Shalla Sluyter. We just wish you'd gotten underway a little earlier in the session... Sid Miller is back in the news. The comically Texan Agriculture Commissioner told the Texas Tribune this week that Gov. Abbott should consider vetoing House Bill 2029, which would exempt weights and scales at barbecue spots from state inspection, in the interest of true accuracy. "I still want to see that when I order a pound of sausage [that] I'm getting a pound of sausage," said Miller... If you had any doubts: The League of Women's Voters of Texas – the most scrupulously middle-of-the-road, nonpartisan milquetoast organization there is – came out with a statement Wednesday, May 24, slamming SB 5, the voter photo ID law passed by the House the day before. Headlined "Texas Voter ID Law Discriminates!" the statement went on to say that the existing law "has been shown time and time again to be purposely discriminatory against minorities and the poor," and bemoaned the "hemorrhaging of our tax funds on court battles to defend this indefensible process."