Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Three bills fast-tracked to floor

Tomorrow, the House will take up three bills, some new and not so new.

The biggest fight tomorrow may well be over HB 5, the enabling legislation for HJR 1 that provides tax relief for seniors and those disabled. The major fight won't be an ideological one (HJR 1 passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support) -- it's essentially over the May 12 vote. Some smaller municipalities are saying they don't have the funds to hold it, so there could be a multitude of amendments regarding this.

HB 3 is also up tomorrow. It's essentially the first section of last session's SB 3, the omnibus water bill. This session's HB 3 would create the Environmental Flows Advisory Group, which would mitigate the state's water uses for rivers, brooks, streams, bay, and estuaries.

Puente plans to offer an amendment to delay the reports by the science teams who would directly oversee the bays and estuaries, which should pass without much fanfare. However, there are other smaller amendments that would establish conservation and utility districts, and if I remember this correctly, these provisions are what killed SB 3 last go-round.

HB 8 is the third major piece of legislation up tomorrow, which would establish the so-called "Jessica's Law." It targets a minority within a minority: sexually violent offenders that target children. Sex offenders are only a tiny fraction of our society, and it would target the sickest of the sick and kill them. It seems to be more of a political stunt by Lt. Governor Dewhurst than anything though. Therapy for these sick souls is what's needed the most, but hey just do what ya can to keep them away from the kids.

Rep. Bonnen also has a bill, HB 542, tomorrow that would rename Brazos River Harbor Navigation District of Brazoria County to "Port Freeport." Why this is coming up right now is beyond me, but what's interesting is that this isn't on the Emergency Calendar -- it's on the General State Calendar. Something's up.


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