Things have been, ahem, a bit slow here in the Legislative Cocktail Hour. It’s kind of like that moment when you’re at a bar and you’re debating if you should have another drink, but you’re kind of tired and you kind of want to go home and watch Friday Night Lights on Netflix for the seventh time. 'Cause let’s face it, talking about pie and regents is getting a bit… dull.
But the session is, I promise you, about to get a little crazy. Thursday, May 9, marks the final day for the House to pass their own bills — after that they can only pass Senate bills — so tempers will be flaring because a lot of legislation will die a sudden, ugly death when the clock runs out. Lawmakers are even going to be in session over the weekend — for the first time. And, as we all know, working on the weekend is the worst, so it will undoubtedly lead to even more temper tantrums. Let's jump right into what happened this week.
Governor to sign important animal rights bill
Remember that bill that would make it illegal to euthanize animals by gassing them? Well, it passed! It's one of the first bills that Governor Rick Perry signs into law, because everyone loves animals.
Now, here’s an interesting tidbit to pass around at your cocktail parties this weekend. Did you know that the governor doesn’t actually have to sign a bill to make it a law? It’s enough that the Legislature passed the bill to make it official. Governor Perry signing it is a mere formality, a photo op for Perry to shake some hands, give away his signing pen and show people that he doesn’t like people gassing animals any more than the rest of us do. Trivia!
It’s not pie. It’s cobbler.
Now that we’ve all calmed down from the naming of the official Texas Pie last month (it’s pecan, in case you missed that column) it’s time to tackle the next dessert: cobbler. This week, lawmakers heard a bill that would name peach cobbler the official cobbler of Texas. The bill begins, “All across the Lone Star State, perhaps no dessert is more welcome at the end of a meal than peach cobbler.” Truth.
Rep. Doug Miller, R-New Braunfels, introduced the peach cobbler bill, and his Chief of Staff, Fritz Reinig, had this to say about this delicious legislation: “As we enter the closing weeks of the 83rd legislature, legislators shouldn't make cuts to the budget pie that might cause them to berry their heads in the sand. Let's do the right thing for Texans! Now let them eat cobbler!"
Rep. Miller and Mr. Reinig, I would like to salute you for your punny-ness, and thank you for your sweet words.
A look forward: Guns and funds
While we’ve certainly accomplished quite a bit in this session, what with the official desserts and everything, there is still so much yet to pass including the water bill, numerous gun bills and, oh yeah, the budget.
Right now, a bill that would send billions from the Rainy Day fund to improve water infrastructure is looking a little stranded on dry land, with Democrats objecting to the spending of so much money on water without fully restoring cuts to education. Any day now, we should start hearing about some workarounds from the state leaders, because I'll tell you this: they want that water plan, they want that money for it, and they're pretty determined.
Saturday is looking to be a pretty contentious day, when a slew of gun bills are set to hit the floor. I’ll be there to catch all the action so expect a special Guns Blazin’ edition of the Cocktail Hour coming your way.