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May 26th, 2009:

And so the chubbing comes to an end

So, as far as I know at this point, SB362 is dead, other bills may or may not be dead, and some semblance of normality will return to the House for the remaining days of the session. After seeing so much analysis, hand-wringing, name-calling, and what have you over the weekend, I think it may be premature to speculate as to what the fallout of all this may be. It may wind up that most of the bills people were fretting and arguing about pass anyway, and most of the ones that end up dead were always fated to die one way or another. We may yet have a special session, or we may not – even Burka is now equivocal about the possibility. I’ll simply observe that Rick Perry hasn’t telegraphed his intentions, which as best I recall is not how he’d operated in the past in calling specials. Not definitive by any stretch, but at least moderately suggestive.

If in the end most bills wind up getting passed, then the question is how does this play out in the 2010 elections. Voter ID, at least the concept of it, has a fair amount of support in the polls. You could probably knock it down a fair amount with some detailed information, but having to go into that kind of detail is generally not winning politics. On the other hand, I daresay that support is fairly shallow. Present it as a matter of priority, with voter ID being put ahead of things like insurance reform, and I bet it’s not nearly the winner it is in a vacuum. I’d bet it barely registers in an open-ended “what’s your top priority” poll question. So while I’m sure the Rs think they have an issue, I know the Ds think they do as well. And if you want to make it about obstructionism, my general belief is that in most cases it’s the majority party that gets the blame when stuff the electorate perceives as important doesn’t get done. That’s not universal – ask the national GOP how their obstructive efforts paid off for them last year – but I think it’s the starting point. Each side can claim they had priorities that they tried to enact but were prevented from doing so. All I know is I’ll put mine up against theirs any day. I’m sure they see it the same way.

I guess if I have one prediction to make coming out of this, it’s that the Speaker will be elected in 2011 with primary support from his or her own party. Just another reason to get that Democratic majority in the House, as if another were needed. For the rest, I’ll wait to see what the runes look like before I begin casting them.

Dems say they can block McLeroy

Good for them.

San Antonio Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus, said all 12 Democrats in the Senate plan to vote against the nomination [of Don McLeroy as Chair of the State Board of Education]. It takes 11 votes to block consideration of nominations.

Several other Democrats [Monday] evening confirmed the tally of ‘no’ votes.

“At this point, I think they’ve got the votes to block,” acknowledged one GOP senator, who asked not to be quoted for fear of retribution by colleagues who are trying to get McLeroy approved. “I’ll be a little surprised if (the Senate GOP leadership) push the vote.”

In theory, that vote may occur today or tomorrow. As you know, I don’t think it will matter much in the end if the Senate busts him or not, as I fully expect Governor Perry to replace him with someone just as bad. Many people for whom I have a lot of respect, like Muse, disagree with me on this; as expected, she’s quite happy with this news. I’m perfectly happy to see the Senate Dems stick together on this and force Perry to try again – one hopes for the last time – I’m just saying my hopes for any kind of improvement as a result of that are not high. What I’d really like to see – what I know we’d all really like to see – is for the Senate to follow through on a more substantive set of reforms for the SBOE, but that’s not looking too good. Busting McLeroy may be the best we’re going to get, and while that’s nice, it’s not enough. It’s going to take more change at the ballot box for it to get any better.

City Council redistricting lawsuit dismissed

Marc Campos mentions this in passing:

This past Friday, a federal judge threw out Lopez v. City of Houston. That is the lawsuit filed by Vidal Martinez to force the City of H-Town to draw two more district council seats immediately. I guess it is not going to happen until 2011.

I’ve searched Google, and I’ve searched the Southern District Court webpage, and other than this May 8 tweet from Liz Lara Carreno, I can’t find anything more on this beyond what Marc has written. The lawsuit, you may recall, was filed in February to force the city to abide by the 1979 ruling that required two new district Council seats to be created when the population hit 2.1 million. The city’s argument was that they wanted to wait till after the 2010 Census, while the plaintiffs argued that sufficient data existed today to do the job in time for this November’s election. A copy of the suit is here, in RTF format. If anyone can point me to an opinion or an order or something so I can have some idea of the reason for the dismissal, I’d appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Berman says he’s in for Governor

Finally, the Republican primary for Governor becomes interesting.

With plans to join the GOP primary with Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, said today he wil announce as a candidate for governor the week of July 4.

“I want to run for governor because there’s one major problem in this state that no one seems to be addressing, and in of fact they are completely avoiding it, and that was quite evident in this legislative session as well, and that’s the question of illegal aliens in Texas.”

There’s video at the link, if you possess a strong constitution. All you need to know is that Leo Berman is stone cold nuts. Which makes him ideal for today’s Republican Party.

Berman was likely bolstered in his desire to run for Governor by an opinion from AG Greg Abbott back in March that said a sitting State Rep did not have to resign his seat once he announced his intent to run for Governor. Obviously, he’ll have to file for one or the other on January 2, so this may wind up being a bluff. But Leo’s just crazy enough to do it, so don’t count him out. With him and Ron Paul disciple Debra Medina in the race, I really hope that the next batch of polls takes into account the fact that there are more than two candidates in the race. I can make a case for them skimming votes from either Perry or KBH, but however you see it, they could have an effect, maybe even force a runoff. And wouldn’t that be fun? Stace has more.

A look at the District H runoff

Professor Murray takes a look at the upcoming runoff in District H, taking into consideration the 1992 Congressional election in which Rep. Gene Green won a runoff against Ben Reyes and the early and absentee voting patterns from this election. You can see my take here. All I know is that early voting begins in a week, and things have been pretty quiet so far. At least, I’ve not yet observed any negative campaigning like what we saw in the November 2003 runoff, which is fine by me. Of course, everyone may just be waiting till after the holiday weekend to get down to business. If so, we’ll know soon enough.

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 25

It’s a special Memorial Day edition of the Texas Progressive Alliance weekly blog roundup. Click on for the highlights.