Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rick Perry: Thumbs Down to 52 House and Senate Bills

Follow this link to the list of 52 Texas House and Senate bills vetoed by Rick Perry. It’s an early Father’s Day present.

I don’t know where to begin. Well let’s begin here. None of the real stinkers that passed both the House and Senate found its way onto the Perry veto list, including my favorite trio, including the “Shoot Now Ask Later” bill.

But you wonder why Perry is going to allow any Texan who is packing heat at home blast away at people if he thinks they mean them harm, but decided that HB 1503, which would have allowed district attorneys, assistant criminal district attorneys, and assistant county attorneys to pack heat in government facilities (courtrooms, I guess). Well, it turns out State Senator Kel Seliger dropped a poison pill in the well that was HB 1503, in “an 11th hour amendment” that would have changed the rules on what a criminal conviction is. Kel Seliger, an ardent NRA supporter was trying to get a new market for sellers and purveyors of firearms by making it possible for those who are convicted of a felony, and released from prison, to gain ownership of a firearm.

Now those are solid conservative values.

So sorry Kelster, you’re just going to have to figure out another way to put guns in the hands of convicted felons.

Good call, Rick. Never thought I’d see the day . . .

But the one that really has me buffaloed is the veto of Scott Hochberg’s HB 3457. This was one that I noticed as it deals with education issues, but not one that I thought had any serious problem in getting passed (unanimous in the House, got 1 Nay in the Senate) and signed. It dealt with having school buses turn off their engines as they sit in school parking lots waiting for children that they had dropped off at a school.

I see this all the time. Drivers keep their buses’ engines at idle for hours and hours at a time, mainly to keep their AC or heater on. It’s a huge waste of fuel (and school district resources) and diesel exhaust is already very high in particulates. School parking lots literally become enfogged in a blue haze after just a couple of hours. And guess who gets to breathe in those fumes? Our children as they cross over to board the buses. And in some cases athletes when the parking lot is next to the practice field.

So why did Governor Goodhair veto this bill?
“I believe educators should be focusing on more pressing priorities, such as: teaching a standards-based curriculum; providing a classroom environment conducive to children with special needs; providing free lunch for students from low-income families; providing a safe learning environment; providing extra-curricular activities such as athletics, the arts and band; providing a bilingual education to more than 600,000 students who speak English as a second language; operating day and after-school programs, and; providing after-hour tutoring services. These are the core functions of our education system. If schools believe they should also regulate and enforce school bus idling policies, I think they should do so, not because it is mandated by the state, but because they have chosen to do so as a matter of policy decided on the local level.”
So the reasoning goes, teachers already have too much to do, and this is a local issue not a state issue.

I actually read the enrolled version of this bill. The word “teacher” does not even appear in the text. Besides, from personal experience if a teacher tells a bus driver that they have to do ANYthing, all that gets them is a derisive laugh out of the driver. Some districts have police that can handle this. If not we have lots of Admins whose job it is to stalk the halls.

So that first bit is the governor looking all concerned that already frazzled teachers are being asked to do more and more. The second bit, I can’t quite understand either. The Gov signed HB 1 (well after crossing out over $0.5 billion in allocations). Doesn’t he realize that over $30 billion of that goes to the TEA? And that trickles on down to the districts who have had to face staggering increases in their fuel bills. So it is incumbent on the state to dictate to local authorities if their policies are causing a waste of state funds.

So I just don’t get it. And when I don’t get it, I follow the money. Trouble is, I just can’t see where the oil companies are going to make a huge killing at the expense of the lungs of our children and wasted public funds that go to pay district diesel bills. This would be chump change to them.

So I just don’t get it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen on your take of Perry's reaction to HB3457! What a load of crap. I have been trying to get the administrators of a school next door to stop such bus idling, and they just think I am a nutcase. So if they won't do it, and the state won't, who will? Parents need to speak out!