Thursday, October 27, 2005

What The Texas House of Representatives Will Be Doing This Interim

I've been meaning to post on this for a while and have finally gotten around to it. Last week Speaker Craddick released his agenda for the interim, Craddick issues interim agenda:
School vouchers, state spending limits, business taxes, election fraud, eminent domain, property taxes, stem-cell research.
As the subtitle of the article states this is a pretty good guide to what will be the next regular sessions agenda - that is if the Republicans are still have a majority. Full list here (.pdf).

I think the best part of this whole "interim charge" is the Speaker and his vendetta against who he perceives killed the school finance/property tax reform this year. Harvey Kronberg does the best job of describing this, Craddick: Limit local government from hiring lobbyists:
The Legislature dances to its own tune. Anyone that believes its primary concern is the citizens of Texas simply has not been paying attention. Its fundamental concern is to keep happy a simple majority of 600,000 Republican primary voters in a state of more than 22 million citizens.

So, some in leadership propose eliminating local control by prohibiting every other duly elected and appointed body in the state from using tax dollars to hire lobbyists to defend themselves from the Legislature. Those pesky lobbyists are apparently too effective in advocating on behalf of the other government entities.

When you can't win the argument out front, simply prevent the other side from speaking.

City councils, commissioners courts and school boards are much closer to the people than is the Legislature. Like the Legislature, these bodies have been vested with their authority by citizens voting in elections.

Were some of the proposals under consideration to pass, groups like insurance and homebuilders could continue to spend millions on lobbyists to protect and enhance their profits while school boards and city councils could spend nothing to represent and defend their voters.

Only about one in four Texans think the Legislature is doing a good job. No wonder some lawmakers want to shut down the argument.
Isn't it ironic when the Republicans want to blame the lobbyists for their loss?

More Analysis here:
Panel will re-examine slots
Legislature off, but watch the committees
Panel to examine financial aid
Craddick announces interim studies, via Texas ACLU
he Speaker of the House has released his list of interim charges to the House committees., via Texas District and County Attorney's Association (TDCAA).
Last two links via Grits For Breakfast


Some of my favorites that weren't mentioned previously:

  • Civil Practices(#5)Evaluate the liability risk associated with privatization of child welfare services and assess the benefit of limiting civil liability for noneconomic damages against a non-profit organization involved in substitute care or case management services. More Privatization
  • County Affairs(#2)Consider whether clarification or revision is needed to state statutes related to dormancy of office provisions and the abolition of local Constitutional offices. Attention John Bradley
  • Local Government Ways And Means(#4)Study the impact of unfunded mandates by state and federal governments on cities. That should be interesting in light of their education plans
  • Transportation(#3)Examine the transportation planning and coordination of land use, including planning for large transportation corridors. Large transportation corridors? Whatever could they be talking about?



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