Tablet Opinion

The Texas Legislature: far right, far left or somewhere in the middle?

Members of the 84th Texas Legislature, which convenes Jan. 13, began prefiling bills on Nov. 10. The list of topics for the session will be broad, as usual, from far right to far left. On tap will be everything from denying in-state college tuition for students brought to the U.S. illegally to expanding Medicaid; from cutting business taxes to easing voter registration. And there’s the budget, lawmakers’ ultimate priority-setting mechanism. On the whole, do you believe the Legislature leans too far right, too far left or strikes a balance?

Right, left or middle? This must be a misprint. For the most part, Texas legislators only know two directions: left and way left.

In Texas politics, there is no such thing as left per se; it just means left of extreme right. As for the middle, Ted Cruz crucified David Dewhurst during their senatorial race by mocking his “moderate” positions.

If you don’t think the right isn’t serious about moving further right, check out the platform at the last state convention.

There are a significant group of angry legislators who are more concerned about political rhetoric than getting things done. And in Texas, rhetoric is best served up on the right.

— Frank Matthews, Fort Worth

Texas is largely conservative and Republicans control all statewide Texas offices. Earlier this month the Texas House and Senate even added more conservative members thereby making Texas one of the most Republican states in the U.S.

The winds of change will be slow to come.

Come the 2016 presidential campaigns, Republicans will be in such control both parties will spend little time here because the voting results are already known. The last time Texas voted Democratic for president was 1976.

The bottom line: Conservative voting in our 84th Legislature is headed our way.

— Patrick Jenkins, Arlington

Conservative Texas voters have steadily moved the makeup of the Legislature to the right, the Republican majority growing to lopsided proportions.

But output has remained mostly left of center due to archaic rules of procedure that permit a minority of leftist Democrats and collaborating Republicans to push through their legislation while obstructing conservative bills.

At the beginning of a session, the Legislature votes on rules of procedure. Let’s hope the upcoming session includes changes to those rules that will make Legislative output more in line with the will of the Texas voters.

The Republican collaborators will eventually lose their seats to more conservative candidates.

— Joel Downs, Hurst

I think it is too early to judge, and caution others against doing so.

My expectations are certainly low, due to conservative bomb-thrower Dan Patrick controlling the flow of legislation in a super-majority Senate.

I would like to hope that cooler heads might somehow prevail.

With the only potential moderating influence being House Speaker Joe Straus, his ability to inject sanity into a less-than-sane assembly will likely be negligible.

Frightening times we live in, but that’s apparently what the voters want.

— Mark Greene, Fort Worth

After the triumph of the farthest right wing of the Republican party in the last election, the Legislature will seek to outlaw abortion, birth control, the lottery, alcohol, homosexuality, public education (vouchers will become the sole means of financing), the teaching of evolution, pollution controls, safety regulations, consumer protection and women wearing pants in public.

I wish I were exaggerating, but the election of irresponsible bomb-throwers like Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick makes the desires of the electorate clear: The stupider the government, the better they like it.

I shudder for our state.

— George Michael Sherry,

Fort Worth

The right is too far right, the left is too far left. To strike a balance is greatly needed!

Need I write more?

— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

Now that the Republicans have won an overwhelming endorsement from the voters, how long will it take them to implement their plans as outlined in their 2014 party platform?

“We support the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of United Nations headquarters from United States soil.” (page 34)

“Since data is clear that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions.” (page 27)

“We support an immediate and orderly transition to a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts, and gradually phasing out the Social Security tax.” (page 17)

“We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized.” (page 11)

— Fred Darwin, Arlington

All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, mnorman@star-telegram.com.

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