Apparently, the state party learned that lesson, too. A little while ago, I got an email from Kirsten Gray, communications director of the Texas Democratic Party, introducing a new weekly memo that she intends to send to county-level party officials throughout the legislative session.
If this first edition is a fair sample, I’ll find it very useful. Included in the memo is a lot of helpful stuff like Talking Points and a legislative update. They’ve also introduced a new “Party Insider’s” blog. You can find it here, including information on how to subscribe, if you so desire.
- On Monday, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs issued the revenue estimate which the legislature will use in crafting our state budget.
- Today the state legislators of the 82nd Session were sworn in.
- The two most significant pieces of state legislative business that will be taken up this week will be the election of a Speaker of the House and the consideration of rules for both chambers. Of particular interest will be whether Republicans are successful in trying to kill the 2/3 rule, which is a long-held tradition that requires 2/3 of senators to agree in order to bring a bill to the floor for consideration.
Because the congressional session just began and the Texas legislature convenes today, we’re focused on what to expect and what our priorities are.
- An over-arching theme for both state and federal Republican politicians is that while they ran on promises of openness and transparency, they are already breaking promises and being secretive. A Politico story illustrates this perfectly on a federal level. State Republicans are hiding important things from the public: while they reported the revenue estimate, the report does not address the structural problems with current state budget policy, and the Republican caucus held a secret meeting to select a Speaker on Monday.
- The Speaker’s race has been a nasty, public affair that illustrates another theme: Republican infighting. In the Texas House, Republicans are fighting about who’s conservative or not conservative enough. Speaker Joe Straus falls in the “not conservative enough” column, if you ask vocal TEA Party voters who take credit for GOP election wins and expect their new lawmakers to heed their demands. In short, the GOP has a supermajority and still can’t pull it together, which could derail their agenda this session.
- The Texas legislative session should have people very concerned – the most heavily Republican and most far-right (and most inadequately vetted) delegation in our state’s modern history is tasked with serious responsibilities – namely the state budget (complete with $27 billion deficit) and the redistricting process (which effectively determines policy that will affect our daily lives for 10 years).