Geez, this late in the session you'd think every bad bill that could come up would have already come up, but if the 80th Lege has taught us anything, it's that nothing is what you'd expect it to be. And so, here comes HB159, which is as bad as they come. Grits explains.
[This bill] would disallow immigrant kids who spent at least three years and graduated from Texas high schools from receiving in-state tuition - on Wednesday's Major State calendar. That means it must be debated before everyone else's bills on the list.
One imagines Speaker Tom Craddick's elevation of this bill to such lofty status may have been less a statement of policy - after all, Craddick actually voted for HB 1403 in 2001 and it was signed by Gov. Rick Perry - but instead a shrewd counterattack on Rep. Rick Noriega, who carried HB 1403 in the 77th Legislature. He just got back from National Guard duty on the Texas-Mexico border in time for session, but along with Rep. Farrar and several others he helped lead the recent uprising to rein in the Governor's homeland security legislation. That affrontery, apparently, earns the Lieutenant Colonel a parliamentary back hand.
In another sense, though, the move spites House members generally, who as Harvey Kronberg recently pointed out have seized power in recent weeks from the Speaker in nearly unprecedented ways. Many members oppose HB 159, it will take a lot of time to debate, and every minute they talk about it more bills die.