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Tell It Like It Is

Here At Home With Laws and Lawmakers

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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

Tell It Like It Is
January 28, 2011 | 1,719 views | 7 comments

Harlingen, Texas, January 27, 2011: The lawmakers are back in Austin, Texas for another round of restricting individual liberties. They assemble here in Texas every two years for 140 days and create a lot of mischief that makes many people very unhappy.

This meeting for 140 days every 2 years is a requirement written into our state constitution. Since Texans are not overly fond of lawmaking there is a decades old joke about our Legislature going into session. It reports that when the constitution was written, numbers on the dates and times were reversed by mistake and what we really intended was for the Legislature to meet every 140 years for 2 days.

The State Senate has already passed a bill that called for a photo identification to be displayed when any Texan desires to cast his or her ballot during an election. Before final passage in that body, the GOP majority had already bowed to Democrats and made exceptions to the original bill. They will allow people with expired driver licenses of no more than 60 days to use that document as their identification. Texans will also be able to display as an ID, their concealed weapons permits.

Democrats will now argue the issue in the State House, where Republicans hold a super majority. They are already saying that requiring a photo ID discriminates against those voters who (a) can’t speak English, (b) can’t read, (c) can’t afford a driver license and (d) are not educated enough to understand the rules. At this point I will be called a racist for the millionth time.... but, what are those people doing at the ballot box anyway?

Those of you who do not reside in the Lone Star State may be unaware of the constitutional law that requires Texas to have a balanced budget. Before the start of every legislative session the State Comptroller must certify exactly how much revenue Texas will have in the bank during the upcoming two-year budget cycle. Lawmakers cannot exceed that dollar amount when they designate state spending for the upcoming two-year budget period.

Back in 2009, Governor Rick Perry signed a two-year budget of $182 billion. We are now told that for fiscal years 2011 and 2012 we will have a revenue shortfall of somewhere between 18 and 28 billion dollars. Instead of picking winners and losers in the money fight, most people I have talked with think the way to handle this financial dip is to cut everyone’s budget ten percent. That reduces spending more than $18 billion.... and believe me, any agency can cut its spending by 10 cents on the dollar.

When it comes to the state legislators, particularly those who chair senate or house committees, everyone else can be cut, but their special domains need even more money to meet all those future demands. Of course, they use as examples all those needs of the elderly, the poor, the disadvantaged, the defenseless, the children and a few of them might toss in a lost puppy or two.

We can expect the GOP side of the legislature to call for more border security and defense against cross border violence. There will be the usual arguments on multiple issues related to immigration. Texas has already joined 26 other states to fight the Obama health care legislation, but even more legislative attention is expected on that item. State Republicans will remind everyone of our constitutional requirement to only spend what we have in the bank. State Democrats will continue their spend-more attitude, and chant that the opposition remains “mean spirited” and “hates the poor”. It will wind up in May with several hundred new laws and a balanced budget, just as it has every two-year cycle since the Lone Star flag was first raised over the state. If only the other 49 states and the nation’s capital could do as well.

Semper Fidelis
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Your Opinions and Comments

Ms. S. V.  
February 2, 2011 6:05pm
They could save a ton of money. There's no reason in this day and time that these guys have to travel to Washington. All they need to do between session that are several years apart is to e-mail, conference call, etc.

Ms. S. V.  
February 2, 2011 6:03pm
You know, they really could save tons of money by meeting less often. In between, they communicate by e-mail, conference calls, or by using any of the other new media. There's absolutely NO REASON for them going to Washington anymore!

4 th Generation Texan  
Sutherland Springs  
February 2, 2011 11:02am
Ms SV, good point.

Ms. S. V.  
February 2, 2011 10:38am
Alvin, the difference is that you are forced to pay into a "retirement" account only IF you are working, whereas the health insurance is forced upon anyone who BREATHES.

Alvin Charmaine  
February 2, 2011 10:32am
I agree, I cant imagine the arguement that makes a logical case for not having to show ID when voting. On another note, the Legal challenges to the healthcare reform legislation appear to at least have enough merit to warrant ... More ›

4 th Generation Texan  
Sutherland Springs  
February 2, 2011 10:17am
They have done one thing that I like...they have made it mandatory to show your ID at the voting locales...truthfully, I already thought it was mandatory. Every time I arrive at the voting station, I am asked for voter registration ... More ›

Alvin Charmaine  
January 28, 2011 5:49pm
Rick Perry's budget deficit. Some deficit hawk. Lets spend some more.... frigin idiot

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