Friday, April 27, 2007

Week in Review

It's been a long week, and it's now Friday afternoon, so I'll direct you to a few other links that can summize the week.

Kuff on finally passing the Systems Benefit Fund

TX Observer: Let Them Eat Nukes, which was the first blog post I can ever remember being mentioned on the floor by name.

Capitol Annex on the Anti-Abortion bill on a bill that was passed out 4-2, which can't happen, so it's dead in committee. Only a dissenting member, in this case Veasey or Farrar, can ask for a re-vote, which I'm guessing won't happen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Now the Tom Delay bill is up

Previously, I'd posted that HB 2492 is a bill that could help Tom Delay's case if he's able to delay it until September 1, 2007, the enactment date of the legislation. A commenter caught the fact that HB 2492 was actually something different, so I took the post down.

However, as I always like to be right - however few and far in between - and say that today's Calendar has HB 2491, also by Leo Berman, which is in fact the bill I originally wanted to reference.

This would allow for corporations and unions to pay for office space, telephones, and salaries of administrative personnel, etc., but would restrict any expenditures from those organizations on political consulting, telephone banks, political fundraising, etc.

My last post was entitled "Tom Delay bill quietly passes." Word on the street is that this bill won't pass so quietly, and many corporations and unions are scrambling to get in some amendments. I can't speak to specifics, but look for it today on the House floor.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Voter ID bills coming to the floor

Betty Brown just brought up HB 218, which is the first of two voting rights bills to come up for debate today. The other is HB 626 by Phil King.

HB 218 would require additional forms of identification in order to vote to combat voter fraud, but it is more tailored to voter impersonation. Texas currently requires voter identification at the polls in the form of a voter registration card, photo or non-photo identification. What HB 218 intends to target is the identification of dead people (maybe even still-borns) being used illegally by others to vote. However, the Secretary of State and the Attorney General's office have produced zero cases of fraud. Betty Brown claims to have some cases forwarded on from counties, but after investigation from state offices, there's no vetted research to show that voter fraud's nothing more than simply alleged.

HB 626 would require proof of citizenship. For U.S. citizens, costs of such proof is small: a new copy of a birth certificate is a mere $23. However, if you're a naturalized citizen, an extra copy of your naturalization certificate is $220. A new copy of the certificate is the only accepted form for immigrants; a photocopy of your existing papers would not be accepted. Anyone remember poll taxes?

Although I cannot disagree with a legal voter's intent to legally vote, I very much disagree with the methods since the consequences appear to far outweigh the supposed benefits.

I'm guessing this will be a long day today since neither the Republicans or Democrats (votes will be strictly along party lines), given the debate between Brown and Anchia. They can't even agree on facts:

Anchia: "Don't you agree with the New York University's School of Law's Brennan Center?"

Betty Brown: "Well no, I don't."

Anchia: "Who do you believe, the Kaufman County School of Law?!"

This surely won't be the worst of the partisan politics during today's debates. As Ed Sills noted on 4/13 on Quorum Report's R&D, this will surely wreck any feelings of bi-partisanship that has coalesced over issues like like TYC and TXU.

Sills: With fewer "speaker votes," the minority party is winning more issues cleanly on the merits. The majority party still frames everything, but there’s more evidence of carrot and less of stick.

This certainly begs the question of whether these bills were brought forth specifically to divide these sentiments of the session.