Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Lines form at the Lege exit doors

First were Sylvester Turner and Allen Fletcher, two Houston state reps from opposite sides of the aisle who, as we know, are both pursuing other offices.  Democrat Joe Farias of San Antonio also called it quits along with Belton Republican Jimmie Don Aycock, and yesterday it was Republican Sen. Troy Fraser -- the man who helped make Rick Perry a millionaire as governor -- and the head of the Texas State Bored of Education, Thomas Ratliff.  Kind words were spoken about all of them except Fletcher, from what I can tell.

But nobody, and I do mean nobody, is going to miss Fraser, who "had trouble hearing women's voices" among his many shortcomings.  Aycock is a different story.

"I don't think there is anybody in this body who has garnered the respect that you have for your evenhanded way of dealing with things, authentic way of being, and willingness to do what’s right for the state of Texas,"  state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, told Aycock on the floor Monday.

As House education chair this session, he worked hard to try to fix the school financing method -- ruled unconstitutional by one state judge, under review by the Texas Supreme Court at the moment -- which was unraveled by the last-minute clusterfuck of legislation that bottlenecks our legislature at deadline.  In yesterday's post Gadfly and I had a discussion in the comments about whether the Lege's failure to address this issue might mean a special session before 2017 on the topic.  (I think the answer is 'no' mostly on the basis of Aycock's pulling the plug and not Abbott's pronouncement.)

Charles has more on Fraser, the health challenges of Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, who almost certainly won't be running again, and Ratliff, mentioned also in the update below.  With a blue hurricane forming for 2016, it's possible that Texas could do worse with some of these open seats, but the prospects of improvement appear a little brighter.  Only if some lousy TeaBagger clutching his gun and bible replaces Fraser in the Senate could we consider ourselves worse off.

Update:  But if Kevin Eltife decides not to run for re-election -- or is challenged from his right in a 2016 primary and loses --  then the Texas Senate will be much the worse off.

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