Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The most pressing issue facing Texas

... is quite obviously not what the Texas Senate thinks it is:

Apparently unaware that average folk are tired of brazen power plays and politicians who don't get that it's about the economy, every Senate Republican except Dallas' John Carona circumvented long-standing legislative protocol to address a bill that solves no crisis.

The Republican majority — in its first act of the session — suspended the rule requiring the acquiescence of two-thirds of the body to bring a bill to the floor in order to ensure passage of a so-called voter ID law.

The proposed law would require Texans to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote.

Republicans, who used to run circles around Democrats in the political message department, took this issue up before addressing job creation, cash-strapped public schools and soaring higher education costs.

And for what? There is no evidence that unauthorized immigrants are voting even in a trickle in Texas.

Last year, the Bexar County district attorney's office completed a 16-month investigation into illegal voting. It resulted in misdemeanor perjury charges against two people — both of whom are U.S. citizens.

To boot, their cases had nothing to do with voting, but rather lying about citizenship status to get out of jury duty.

A slumping national and state economy, a disappearing budget surplus, children without health insurance and skyrocketing tuition costs, and the Texas Senate takes up, as its first order of business, a bill to outlaw unicorns:

You've seen them lined up around the block, the hordes of Mexican illegals waiting to get into the polls so they can vote twice.

They've sneaked across the border — not for roofing jobs, or to send money back home to their relatives. No, they've come here for EZ voting — that is, to vote for everybody whose name ends in EZ: Hernandez, Rodriguez, Martinez.

Texas Republicans know of this voter fraud problem. It's right up there in frequency with leprechaun sightings.

Then there's the old folks on fixed incomes. You know how those people are. They vote for Democrats, too. So the Republicans in the Texas Senate have passed a resolution that would allow a bill to be brought up that would require a photo ID to vote in Texas.

Hey, it's a jobs program. The Republican senators know that if they can keep enough Democrats from voting, they can keep their jobs.

So not surprised to see my spunky little senator Joan Huffman on the list.

The Texas House appears to be the chamber that will act with some measure of reason and tolerance during the 81st.

Oh wait; WTF am I thinking?

(T)he honeymoon for House Speaker Joe Straus was short lived. In fact, it ended on Friday, the minute he told reporters he favored Voter Identification:

VOTER ID — He voted for it in 2007 and thinks another examination of whether photo IDs are needed to combat polling fraud is appropriate. He said he does not yet know whether there are sufficient votes in the House to pass a bill.

I’m sorry, were House Democrats just so damned eager to get rid of Tom Craddick that they forgot to get any concessions worth a damned for all their troubles?

Somehow, I thought I heard whispered along the corridors of power in Austin that voter identification was dead because Straus wouldn’t bring it up in the House, no matter what the Senate did. I guess that’s changed in a week’s time. With rumors that he’ll leave State Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) in charge of the House Committee on Elections as a concession to the rightwing members of his party running rampant as well, one has to wonder if House Democrats cobbled together a majority to elect a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

What’s going on? Is Straus just playing non-committal and not really going to let Voter ID have a chance, or is he seriously going to give it a chance, or did he just betray the Democrats–without whose support he would still be the junior legislator from Bexar County?

Denial of quorum, anyone?

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