Politics
12:23 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

House Deadline Kills Thousands Of Bills

Just in case you didn't know, last night was the final night for the Texas House to pass House bills on second reading. That killed (mostly) any bills that didn't get up by then. And there were thousands of bills killed when the clock struck midnight.

Now the House is on to debating House bills on third reading. Passing there sends a bill on to the Senate. The House also a few days left to consider Senate bills. There are upcoming deadlines on those bills too but watching the debate today, you'd never know anyone was in a rush.

On today's Local and Consent calendar, which is filled with bills that are usually considered uncontroversial and of local interest, lawmakers are using up lots of time asking questions that don't seem to have any purpose other than to kill time.

Any resolution naming this person, place or thing the Official (enter whatever here) of Texas elicited questions about local food or even more blunt inquiries of, "What's so special about (enter whatever here)."

But other questions seemed to be a bit more pointed. Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) questioned several bill authors about whether their bills created a "new tax." Her goal appeared to be catching Republicans on their "no new taxes" pledge for the session.

In one exchange over the creation of a Municipal Utility District she asked if the bill would create a service that would be paid for with a new tax, again pointing back to some Democrats' calls to raise new revenues that would help offset proposed cuts in education and health and human services.

There are 18 days left in the session.