Texas Legislature Rolls Hard Right - What does that mean for the next legislative session?
As the sun came up over the Texas Capitol Wednesday morning something was different. No, you really couldn't see it if you looked at the majestic Texas Capitol, but there was something new... something different. Ah, I see it now! She is leaning more to the RIGHT! In what may be the largest shift in political power since Sam Houston sent Santa Ana packing, Texas Republicans now have a strong hold on at least the House side of the Capitol and a majority in the Senate where we should be able to pass much of the legislation that has been held up by Democrats for the past several sessions.
Twenty-two new freshman Republican State Representatives will be moving into new offices in the capital displacing their former Democrat opponents. Texans have now given the Republicans a solid, controlling majority, at 100-50. More important than the numbers is the "who" of the outgoing Democrats! Take a look at this list from across the state. Some very important Democrats will not be returning to Austin next year, unless they are back as lobbyists. What does this mean in the Texas House?
The first question that comes to mind is who will lead this body of legislators? Currently House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) is the sitting Speaker, elected to the position with a coalition Republican/Democrat legislators that proved to be a disaster from the standpoint of moving vital legislation forward in the last session. Will the new strong-conservative base choose a new Speaker with solid conservative credentials? I am certain these talks are already underway. Supposedly Speaker Straus has been dialing for pledges of support. I wonder who is taking his calls?
Once this issue is settled, we will have a much better picture of what kind of legislation will come out of the Texas House in the 2011 legislative session. Voter ID is certainly on the list of hot topics. There were many reports in Dallas about people coming in to vote and finding they had "already voted"! Apparently there is a new service out there that will vote for you to make it easier. Problem is, they don't ask you how you want to vote. Voter ID will go a long way to slow this problem down.
Border Security and Illegal Immigration will be another hot topic. State Rep Debbie Riddle from Houston, has promised to introduce legislation to send money, technology and manpower to the border to assist our brave border sheriffs who are our first line of defense against the violent war going on just south of the Texas/Mexico border. She will also introduce a bill to make driving without a driver's license (meaning you don't have one, not you left yours at home) a mandatory arrest violation. Much like the current law which requires arrest for driving on a suspended license.
Rep. Leo Berman, from Tyler, will introduce legislation to bring an Arizona style law to Texas. Other Reps are promising new legislation to make Texas more secure and safer.
Texas faces a wealth of issues in the coming session; a sever budget deficit, redistricting, nullifying the Obama Healthcare unconstitutional action, regaining control of our environment from the EPA, school financing - just to name a few. This promises to make this session hugely challenging with great opportunity for Republicans to show they deserve the new power they have been given.
It is indeed a new day for Texas and for Republicans. We now have an opportunity to show what true conservative leadership can do. We also have an opportunity to watch for some of the remaining "big government" Republicans to identify themselves and target them for elimination 2012 primaries. You see Legislators, we are watching. We are paying attention. And, we WILL take action.
Good luck and God Bless Texas!