The Texas Legislature is wrapping up the final week of its 2015 regular session. Meeting every odd-numbered year for 140 days, the members of the House and Senate craft policies on every aspect of state government.
What do you believe you will remember most about this year’s session and its accomplishments? Tax cuts for homeowners and businesses — will they be enough to notice, or are they more important for their symbolism than their substance? Education policy — is school choice important to you? Ethics legislation — are lawmakers and leaders playing it straight?
What’s been accomplished? Putting things off until next session, not addressing needed matters. Doesn’t sound like a real job.
— Nelson Enochian, Benbrook
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The Lege did what it always does. Members whooped it up until the last minute and then passed all the special-interest legislation they were paid for. Anyone who has lived in Texas long enough might remember a movement from long ago — “Throw the Rascals Out!”
— Don Martin, Arlington
Our pandering Legislature wasted valuable time on bills addressing nonexistent problems.
Why did we need a law protecting ministers from having to perform gay weddings? Gays will tell you that they have no desire to force someone to marry them who thinks they’re sinners.
Next was a bill banning state entities from posting signs stating that no weapons are allowed on the premises. It obviously isn’t enough for our legislators to pass open carry and fight for campus carry — despite Texans’ overwhelmingly opposition.
— Frank Matthews, Fort Worth
The Republican-dominated Legislature found time to pass open carry (almost, as of this writing), but failed to pass a ban on texting while driving.
Even more ironic is that this is the same Legislature that outlawed local ordinances regarding hydraulic fracturing, citing a mishmash of local ordinances, which is precisely what we have regarding texting.
When special interests are involved, the Legislature has no concern overriding local control. But the obvious public safety issue of texting while driving has no backing from monied interests, so this effort languishes.
— Clive Lane, Grapevine
Every session is the same: they mess around until the last week and pass bills that haven’t been read and drop bills that should have been considered. Then the governor calls a special session at great expense. They’re like a bunch of rowdy children.
— Geraldine Orr, North Richland Hills
This session’s message was simple, blunt and consistent: If you don’t have a gas well, get one. You’ll love doing business with Texas. And if anybody interferes, call Austin.
— Bruce W. Cavin, Fort Worth
You should put quotation marks around the word “accomplishments,” because little of what has been done has had a positive result for most Texans.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise when the first legislation to the floor had nothing to do with education funding or healthcare or even the maintenance and construction of our infrastructure, but how a small percentage of Texans can carry firearms.
It’s utter hypocrisy for a governor who, as attorney general, hung his hat on suing the federal government for overreach to sign legislation limiting local control.
An ethics bill with teeth, one of the governor’s primary issues for this Legislature, seems highly unlikely in the end. Big money wins again.
But this is what Texas politics has become — individual agendas without regard for or a willingness to discuss what’s best for the majority of Texans.
— Robert R. Eaton, Fort Worth
The “accomplishments” of the current Legislature appear to be nil in getting things done for the average Texan.
Its efforts seemed to be more closely related to ideologies, such as limiting women’s healthcare rights, wanting everyone to be able to carry weapons openly under the guise of supporting the Second Amendment, banning gay marriage and not wanting anything resembling immigrant amnesty.
Most memorable was stripping the rights of Denton residents to protect their community, while demanding state’s rights from the feds.
— Floyd Ostrom, Arlington
I’ll remember this session as the most anti-environmental, anti-municipality in maybe forever. Essentially, this Lege has killed thousands of jobs, made Texas more polluted and taken away your rights as a resident of your local municipality.
— John MacFarlane, Fort Worth
Amid all the hot-dogging, grandstanding, bickering and filibustering, the Lege found time to craft a proclamation of John Wayne Day. Way to go.
— John D. Middleton, Hurst
Lawmakers acted on their personal beliefs rather than representing all Texans in pursuit of progress. While the quality of our civic life declines, don’t mess with Texas! We passed gun laws and we pack heat!
— Loveta Eastes, Benbrook
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.