Less is more in the Texas Legislature--and better for Texas

Posted Tuesday, Apr. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy The Texas Legislature is trying to do as little as possible this session, which is good news.

House Speaker Joe Straus tried to help.

He gave the House only two basic assignments to finish by May 27:

• Find more water and

• Reform the schools.

So, naturally, the Legislature has been busy on such vital matters as whether to discontinue lotto games and to declare pecan the official state pie.

In a session interrupted by a presidential inauguration, a tragic explosion and a library dedication, everybody seems to agree that the Legislature, as usual, has left most of the work for the last days.

By May’s end, lawmakers will have to bring back some version of that water resources plan Democrats brought down on a point of order this week, hash out education and — well, mainly stay out of the way.

Former state Rep. Barbara Nash, following from home in Arlington, laughed.

“They’re not passing as many bills as we did,” she said.

“That’s not a bad thing.”

From Rice University in Houston, political science professor Mark P. Jones noted the lack of hot-button debate.

Compared with last session’s Daily Show- and Doonesbury-worthy debates on “sanctuary cities” and transvaginal sonograms, this go-round has been “much more sedate and less entertaining,” Jones wrote.

“But from a pure public policy perspective, that does not mean it has been less effective.”

The best comic interlude so far has been the House’s three-hour flip-flop on the lottery. Lawmakers puffed up about gambling long enough to eliminate the state game (by not renewing the overseeing agency), but then backed off rather than replace that $1.1 billion per year.

In local subplots, Tarrant County’s five Tea Party rookies have been mostly quiet, and House leaders seem to like it that way.

If you miss the rough-and-tumble Lege, I have just the guy for you: state Rep. Bill Zedler.

Zedler is challenging, in no particular order:

•  Arlington police. He wants Arlington’s remote-control surveillance minicopter kept away from private property without a search warrant.

•  Day laborers: His bill bans spending public money to “faciliate the employment of aliens.”

•  Science: His bill protects professors and students for advocating so-called intelligent design.

•  Strippers: He wants them to get licenses. And wear them.

From home in Fort Worth, former state Rep. Mark Shelton is taking it all in and considering whether to run for the Senate again.

“That water plan needs to move ahead,” he said. “I was sorry the Democrats stopped that.

“In the final days, a lot of things can happen — and a lot of things can not happen.”

We can only hope.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy Get alerts at RebelMouse.com/budkennedy

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