Same issues, less money will drive lawmakers

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We pledge with lege to take care of business and not waste time 'in the bathroom'

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The 85th Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 10 and we’ll have two new faces representing us in the House and Senate.

Congratulations to Kyle Biedermann and Dawn Buckingham, who will serve as our representative and senator, respectively. Both waded through tough primaries and we admire their determination.

We offer our thanks to Doug Miller, our three-term state representative who was ousted by Biedermann, and to retiring State Sen. Troy Fraser. Both served this area for many years.

The Legislature’s biggest challenge will be a big list of challenges and less money to fund solutions. Oil revenues have been stuck in low gear and they still make up a big part of the state budget.

Though our conservative legislators in Austin feel they will have an ally in the White House, don’t look for less spending on border security just yet. The feds will take a while to jigger their protections, so the Texas lege will continue to send manpower and lots of dollars to the border. One story said the biggest result of the extra $800 million spent sending our Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to the border was more traffic tickets for the locals down there. This is unsustainable and driven by fear, which lately seems to have no spending limit.

The lege should immediately remedy the situation with Child Protective Services, which seeks to protect the state’s abused and foster children. Having been cut and ignored for many years, CPS has gotten the attention of the top leaders in the state. How we treat the most vulnerable of our citizens says a lot about us as a society, and Texas hasn’t said much lately.

Gov. Greg Abbott will probably again call for a convention of states. We think the checks and balances in place still work, but Abbott’s convention would allow two-thirds majorities of states to override both Supreme Court decisions and federal law. With some demagogue leaders we have in this era, that could be dangerous and turn the clock back on many areas of established civil rights.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will likely continue to place more importance on bathroom and bedroom issues than on fixing what ails the state. The former radio talk show host has a list of priorities that show even though he thinks the feds ride herd on the states, he doesn’t mind when the state rules over municipalities, counties and school districts.

We are again thankful for Joe Straus, who we hope will be elected to his fifth term as speaker. His maturity and steadiness balance out some of the showboating of the ultra right wingers in the legislature.

 

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