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Governor calls third session

It’s official: the third special session in our neverending legislative season will begin Monday at noon. The Democratic holdouts will be there. Full coverage, though there’s not much different from what was in this morning’s papers is in the Chron, Statesman, Morning News, Star Telegram, and Express News. There are eight items on the agenda, as noted by the Quorun Report:

The call:

To consider legislation relating to congressional redistricting.

To consider legislation relating to state fiscal management, including adjustments to certain school district fiscal matters made necessary by recent changes in state fiscal management; making related appropriations.

To consider legislation relating to the dates of certain elections, the procedures for canvassing the ballots for an election, and the counting of certain ballots voted by mail.

To consider legislation modifying the filing period and related election dates for the primary elections in Texas.

To consider legislation relating to the financing, construction, improvement, maintenance, and operation of toll facilities by the Texas Department of Transportation and the disposition of money generated by the driver responsibility program, fines imposed for certain traffic offenses, and certain fees collected by the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas; making an appropriation.

To consider legislation relating to the reorganization of, efficiency in, and other reform measures applying to state government.

To consider legislation appropriating fees established by legislation from the 78th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature that remain unappropriated. This matter shall be strictly construed to only include fees that were established during that session of the legislature.

Legislation relating to making an appropriation for the purpose of returning to a fund outside of the state treasury cash that was transferred from the fund to the general revenue fund.

Note the items having to do with primary dates, which are there to allow enough time for the Justice Department to review any new map before the 2004 election. The Morning News also alludes to Perry’s desire to do away with the blocker bill tradition permanently. As with the Wentworth nonpartisan redistricting committee bill, that’s the sort of thing a majority party does when it thinks it will be the majority forever. I guarantee you that some day, when the Democrats are in charge again, the Republicans will rue the loss of that tradition if indeed it does go away. We shall see.

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  1. Edwina Maclin says:

    This is a question. The republicans are going to draw districts in their favor. In order to do that, they will create two districts, one for African-Americans and another for Latinos. So that means they are going to create Majority-minority districts, the same districts that were struck down in Texas under Shaw vs. Hunt in June 1996? So isn’t it a violation of the Supreme Court Decision? Why aren’t the Texas democrats looking at that decision? What’s good for the goose…yada, yada, yada.

  2. Tom McDonald says:

    I’ve heard this a couple times now – that the Republicans will regret doing away with the 2/3rds tradition when they are no longer in the majority.

    This is a silly claim. Does anyone really doubt that the Democrats, the same ones that fled the state illegally, in direct violation of the Texas constitution, would hesitate to eliminate the 2/3rds tradition as soon as it suited their purpose?

    If violating the state constitution is ok with them, why in the world would they feel any qualms at removing a “tradition” that is not even in the rules of the senate?

    The former era of bipartisanship in the Texas senate is long over. It only really existed when almost all of the senators were either conservative Dems or conservative Repubs. Now that the Dems are fully left-wing, the body has become polarized, like most of the rest of the country.

  3. Well, Tom, I could point out that the 2/3 tradition was started by Democrats, and that they generally kept it in place except by agreement with Republicans, so I don’t see any evidence for your claim. Let me also remind you of the story of Sen. Drew Nixon (see here), in which the Democrats declined to take an easy opportunity to score partisan points at a time when their power was in decline.

  4. Tom McDonald says:

    Your point is well taken, but I don’t think the Dems are exactly paragons of virtue here.

    My point is that illegally fleeing the state to break a quorum is a much more significant step than not continuing the 2/3rds tradition.

  5. Davis X. Machina says:

    I fail to see how the Texas state constitution makes leaving Texas illegal, as you suggest. (…the Democrats, the same ones that fled the state illegally)

    Surely they have a generalized federal right to travel, even across state lines, under the 14th amendment?

  6. Tom McDonald says:

    Article 3, Sec. 10. Which every senator swore an oath to uphold, btw. Right to travel does not apply when “shown to be necessary to promote a compelling governmental interest”.

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