Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watching the Legislative Circus

Generally, when the Texas legislature is in session, we simply try to cover our wallets and mumble a lot in frustration.

This year, there have been a coupla bright spots. Last week, Gov. Rick Perry caused a commotion by basically saying that if things keep going on this way, Texas can just secede. Presumably he was courting the far conservative right. Unknown how many of them were charmed by his statement, but he kinda sorta backpedaled, so the response he got must have popped his balloon.

As one man commented, "If Texas didn't need the United States, we wouldn't have asked for federal help when the hurricane hit Galveston."(last fall, for those who don't know or remember)

Perry also has refused any stimulus money which has both Democratic and Republican state legislators screaming, "Are you nuts?!"

This was behind the House vote last Friday to strip the governor's office of $23 million of his budgeted $24 million. They voted to add the $23 million to the mental health budget, which had me snickering. Little message there.

Political experts say his office will get the money back when he succumbs and accepts the money, which is needed for unemployment wages. Even in Texas, the costs for those laid off have skyrocketed.

And yesterday, Sen. Jane Nelson, a former teacher, made a preemptive strike. Many school districts in Texas have instituted rules that no child can receive a grade lower than 50, or 60, or even 70, even if they don't perform the work. Failure harms the children's self esteem, you see. The state senate voted unanimously to abolish this practice.

Session isn't over yet. Still, every once in a while this time around, our elected officials are doing something to make me smile, either in humor or approval.

It's been a very long time since I've done either.

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