Congratulations to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. The hot summer legislative session of 2017 has begun at the Texas state capitol. This past Tuesday was opening day for the legislative special session called by the Governor to complete the work left undone by the state legislators at the end of May. First order of business was the sunset deadline, an automatic process which would have shut down state agencies this year. In 1977 the Texas Legislature created the Sunset process to periodically assess the necessity for existing agencies carrying out the responsibilities of state government.
The Senate which reconvened on Tuesday, under the leadership of Lt. Governor Patrick and St. Senator Van Taylor who authored the sunset legislation, SB20 and SB60, moved lightning fast to reauthorize the Texas Medical Board and other agencies by unanimous vote within the first two days. Without authorization, these agencies would shut their doors in September. State Senator Taylor blamed the crisis on the House leadership. It remains to be seen how soon the House will move on the legislation in the lower chamber. Now that the most urgent business is out of the way in Lt. Gov. Patrick’s court, the remaining items on the Governor’s priority list will be taken up by the Senate.
At a private meeting at the state capitol yesterday, one of the state senators leading the charge to accomplish the Governor’s agenda in the summer session said he expected the Senate would complete their work by next week and it would then be the House’s turn but it’s critically important especially with legislation likely to meet heavy opposition to build support in the House with a substantial number of House representatives helping sponsor bills to move them along through the House.
A key member of the State House of Representatives was at the meeting yesterday and he shared his concerns about members being kept in the dark by the Speaker of the House who tries to avoid recognizing conservatives on the floor especially members of the Freedom Caucus whose mission is to focus on first principles – protect life, strengthen families, defend our U.S. and Texas Bills of Rights, restrain government, and revitalize personal and economic freedoms in the State of Texas. Read more about the Freedom Caucus’ mission, issues, members. He believes Speaker Straus is taking a defensive posture against the Governor. Will his skills at thrusting and parrying be as effective this summer to counter the Governor’s aggressive agenda considering there’s been a rather glaring spotlight trained on Straus’ deceptive tactics these past months?
Advice from the conservative and courageous state senator and representative present at the private meeting yesterday at the capitol – participate in the legislative process as grassroots conservatives. Contact your representatives and let them know you support school choice reforms, property tax caps, pro-life legislation to stop loopholes in abortion funding in the state, defending patient rights at the end of life, preventing abortion subsidies in health care, adding enforcement teeth in abortion complication and minors’ permission to abort reporting, the privacy and safety of women and children in bathrooms.
One last point made at the private meeting that should be shared with our conservative readers. Watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing who appear to be advocates for conservative values concerning life, liberty, family, marriage, small government, etc. In many ways these groups are stealthy operators like Speaker Straus and they are allies. They include Joe Pojman and the Texas Alliance for Life, the Texas Conservative Coalition, the Texas Association of Business, Texas Lawsuit Reform, Texas Association of Realtors, the Texas Education Agency, and the Associated Republicans of Texas. We’ll be writing more about these organizations in the near future. Stay tuned.