Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rick Perry's emergencies

If you had the slightest doubt about Governor Zoolander running for president, you can put that aside now.

Legislation requiring women seeking an abortion to first have a sonogram is an emergency that merits expedited consideration by the Legislature, Gov. Rick Perry told anti-abortion activists on Saturday.

A bill backed by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Houston state Sen. Dan Patrick will be granted emergency status, Perry told more than a thousand anti-abortion protesters at a rally. They had gathered at the Capitol on the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.


The governor has previously announced four other emergency items for legislators to consider: eminent domain reform, ending "sanctuary city" policies that don't require police to check the immigration status of people they stop or arrest, a voter identification bill, and calling for an amendment to the US Constitution that would mandate a balanced federal budget.

The issues that Perry has given emergency status are important to his base of conservative activists and to the tea party movement.

Harold Cook has the lightest response, but this is really no laughing matter.

Tomorrow the Texas Senate will take up his first "emergency" -- voter ID -- in a 'committee of the whole' session.

It will eventually pass, and the only question is the level of opposition the minority will be able to muster. Whatever that amount is, how intense it may be, it will still only be symbolic.

Voter ID has the sole intention -- no matter how loudly or often Republicans claim it is something else -- of stifling Democratic turnout. Even prominent Republicans say that it will place a likely-insurmountable hardship on many of the elderly. But then that's just how they roll.

Moving forward, Democrats in Texas will have to make sure their voters have proper identification according to the legislation that will be crafted. Voters, for their part, are going to have to accept responsibility for making certain they are "qualified" to cast a ballot ... according to the GOP's definition of the word.

This additional voting requirement still won't stop disqualifications at polls, particularly those run by GOP election judges, nor will it end the thuggish tactics of the King Street Patriot/True the Vote denizens.

But it's going to be the new reality, just like community colleges closing, a hundred thousand teachers across Texas hitting the unemployment lines, and Medicaid patients dying because the the state no longer wants to pay for their care.

This is what a majority of Texans voted for last November. How do you like it so far?

Update: Burka, on the governor's priorities ...

I suspect that most governors, like 48 or 49 out of 50, would be embarrassed to fast-track such proposals when their state was facing a $27 billion budget deficit that is partly the result of the governor’s own policies, but nothing seems to be too blatantly political to embarrass Perry. And I think the reason no one really is wringing their hands over the governor’s upside-down priorities is that we long ago ceased to expect anything more.

And Gary Denton, on the V-ID bill ...

1) The legislation does not provide any alternatives to photo identification examples of identification that will no longer be acceptable to voter include student id cards, Medicaid/Medicare cards, expired driver’s licenses, expired passports, expired military id cards, birth certificates, official government letters, and employer id cards even if issued by a governmental entity.


9) Implementing redistricting plans and extremely strict photo id laws right before a Presidential election is a recipe for disaster in voter confusion.

The people most impacted by this bill will be students, (those who have) recently married (or) recently moved, very low income, elderly, legal immigrants, handicapped, (and) mainly urban dwellers who don't drive a car. These groups all lean Democratic so the Republicans count this bill as a success, getting any edge possible for elections.

And John Tanner, on why the V-ID bill will not withstand a court challenge.

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