Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Scattershooting the Lege and legal things

-- Kuff wrote the post I intended to write on the opening arguments at the Fifth Circuit on Texas' odious photo ID law.  Everything you need to know -- and the links you need to click on -- is there.  Update: Here's what I wrote last September about Texas and photo ID.

Update (4/29): And Hair Balls and the TexTrib were on the scene for the arguments.

-- People are excited about the SCOTUS hearings on the gay marriage cases, but frankly that's going to be as dramatic as falling down for Christianist doom-and-gloomers.  God would be real mad at them, and not LGBT people who want to get married... if there were actually a God, of course.  Here's six things you need to know about the case, and I've excerpted from the end of #5 and all of #6.

It’s impossible to know how any justice will vote, but here, as in so many areas, it seems highly likely that everything will turn on the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy. And the plaintiffs have reason to be hopeful here: Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion in Windsor, as well as two important, earlier gay rights decisions -- one in 1996 and one in 2003.

6) When will we learn what the court has decided, and what are the potential decisions? What will the various outcomes actually mean in real terms?

SHAW: I’d guess we’ll know in the very last week of the term, perhaps even the very last day -- at the end of June. This is a hugely important decision, and it’ll come down to the wire.

I would guess Justice Roberts breaks with the conservative Catholic minority (in this case) and joins Kennedy and the liberal majority, making it 6-3.  As a private attorney almost twenty years ago, Roberts worked on a case advocating against discrimination based on sexual orientation.  And that case, Romer v. Evans, prevailed on a 6-3 SCOTUS vote (the dissenters were Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas).

It is all but a done deal.

UpdateA couple of court interpreters at today's arguments dramatically read some ominous tea leaves, but the TXGOP in the Lege is already plotting ways around approval.

-- State Sen. Kirk Watson's bills -- requiring disclosure by lawmakers of their wining and dining expenses by lobbyists -- suddenly woke from their slumber and started to move yesterday.

(Watson) had complained that he was beginning to hear the “death rattle” on Senate Bills 585 and 586 after they sat bottled up for several weeks in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

But he got a public hearing on Monday, and the committee voted the bills out unanimously.

“I’m real gratified,” Watson said. “It continues to move this conversation that needs to happen and is part of the governor’s goals for the session.” Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has said he wants to "dedicate this session to ethics reform."

We'll see what happens, but when there are so many bills dying in committee at this point of the session, it's nice to see some glimmer of hope for government accountability.  Update: Here's what I blogged previously about lobbyists' food and bar tabs.  Legislators already got a per-diem increase this session.

-- Here's what else is on Dan Patrick's and Joe Straus' priority list: The budget (good comparison chart between Senate and House versions here), state contract reform, education, energy and environment, ethics, guns, healthcare, immigration and border security (some are withering on the vine), tax cuts, transportation, and veterans' affairs.  Go to the first link and find your issue, the bills associated with it, and their status.

It's nut-cutting time with about five weeks to go to Sine Die, on June 1.


meme said...

If there is a God is an interesting question, there is no proof that there is one, nor is there any proof that one does not exist. If one has a small mind and can only visualize a Creator as pictured by the two largest religions one would could logically disapprove what is written in the Bible or Koran, ah if life was so simple and us so smart that we could fathom the universe or multiple universe that may have been created as one scientist recently declared. What is harder to believe that there are maybe five other Manuel Barrera one in each universe or that maybe there is a creator that present we refer to as dark matter.

PDiddie said...


God is imaginary.

(I keep it posted in the upper right hand column, directly underneath the Twitter feed, for a reason.)

meme said...

It may be imaginary, but something real is still creating, the scientists say so. So what do we call this thing that is creating?

Maybe the Hindus are right about reincarnation, after all the stars are reborn so why not the small things? The Hindus of god is different, your god or anyone's god is the same god just a different aspect of the same god.

PDiddie said...

The thing doing the creating is nothing, Manuel. Who created the creator?

I don't have a god, because there is no god. I have to keep repeating myself, so please click on the link I already provided. Let me know how long you stay there, reading and absorbing. I'm going to say you do so for less than five minutes.