Tuesday, May 29, 2007

80th Legislature Adjourns Sine Die: Dogs That Died, Stinkers That Didn't

It was pretty anticlimactic. All at once, I could hear the livestream from the other room and where at one time there were heated comments and prickly silences, now there was laughter and applause.

“It must be over,” I said to myself. Went in to look and yep, there’s Tom Craddick denying Texas State Rep. Lon Burnham’s request to bring up a resolution to honor former Parliamentarian and Assistant Parliamentarian Denise Davis and Chris Griesel.

So Texas heaves a collective sigh of relief.

The damages can be found here, but I want to highlight three of my “favorites”.

Most Likely to Get Someone Killed: SB 378 or “The Castle Doctrine” also known as the “Shoot first and ask questions later doctrine”, but this is the moniker I like : “What’s the use of owning a handgun if I can’t use it from time to time?” Gives a whole new meaning to Texas’ motto: The Friendly State.

Biggest Pain in the Butt: Florence Shapiro’s SB 1031, the TAKS replacement bill. It’s accountability writ large, but whose? It’s the students who take the test, but they are not held accountable for the results. Who are? Teachers, Teacher’s Aides, Principals, Superintendents, Custodians, Bus Drivers, and Crossing Guards.

And lastly . . .

Best Teacher Smack Down: Article III, Section 1, nos. 3 and 72 of HB 1 (budget). It’s a one-two punch for Texas’ public school educators. One: An annual raise equivalent to 1.1% of the average teacher salary in Texas. Wow!!! The SBEC says that it needs 80,000 additional teachers in 2008. 80,000. With this pay raise you can literally see teachers pouring over the state line snapping up jobs! Two: Pay For Performance: Additional funds for teachers based on a Machiavellian Educator Excellence rating system based on student performance that ignores the fact that teaching is a team effort.

My favorite three that got away?

Least Likely to Eliminate Voter Fraud: HB 218, the Voter ID bill. A bill whose basis is a big a sham as Bush’s reasons for going to war in Iraq. A Rovian nightmare that keeps the elderly and poor (likely progressive voters) from voting, or allows them to vote only on provisional ballots. We have Senator Gallegos and his new liver to thank for keeping this one in its bottle.

Best Sell-Out of Higher Education: Shapiro’s SB 101. It was Florence Shapiro’s genius to realize that the best way to get more of her wealthy contributor’s slacker children into UT was by cutting the number of the high achievement/high motivation students who are automatically admitted to flagship schools in half. Muffy and Scooter will just have to tough it out at Baylor.

And last but not least,

Biggest Scam: Perry’s plan to sell the Texas Lottery to a private firm in order to fund cancer research and stuff. Couching this in terms of doing this in order to cure cancer was the most disingenuous part of the whole sordid affair. Perry wanted to sell the state’s biggest cash cow and use the proceeds to play the stock market. Geez Rick, why not just put it all on 26 Black? Want to cure cancer? How about HJR 90, passed hugely and will be on the ballot in November.

1 comment:

Montag said...

They ought to start calling Gallegos "the bionic man." Remember how they explained it on the TV series? "We can rebuild him . . . better, stronger!"