The Legistlative Cocktail Hour

Perry calls third special session to tackle transportation

Perry calls third special session to tackle transportation

Rick Perry at mic 2013
Perry could call a third special session to tackle the transportation bill. Office of the Governor of Texas/Facebook

Gov. Rick Perry called a third special session of the Texas Legislature today, after lawmakers failed to pass a transportation bill that would pay for roads. The most viable legislation would have diverted gas and oil revenues from the Rainy Day Fund into one for Texas roads and infrastructure. The bill came to a screeching halt over bipartisan objections in the House on Monday.

Because this is one of the three things the legislature was supposed to tackle in the first and then second session, Perry is undoubtedly annoyed at the prospect of taking a break from harassing Californians and New Yorkers to focus on another installment of Austin politics. This third session will add another couple hundred thousand dollars to the $1.6 million the two previous special sessions have cost taxpayers, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

(Insider tip: If you want to see your favorite representative or senator cry, today would be the day to head to the Cloak Room and watch them wallow in their whiskey.)

They might as well put a “Mess with Texas” bumper sticker on the presidential limo
This line from a recent Politico article sums up quite nicely how some Texans feel about U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement last week that the Department of Justice will be taking Texas to court over our new voting maps, as well as challenging the state's ability to pass fair voting laws.

This all comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the provision in the Voting Rights Act that makes it mandatory for states with a history of institutional racism to run any new voting laws by the federal government. You may recall that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott barely waited a day after the SCOTUS announcement to begin pushing these Republican-friendly, minority-disenfranchising maps through before the fall.

While it doesn’t come as a surprise that Holder would go after Texas instead of — I don’t know — Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia or any other state, it certainly does play into the stereotype: The rest of the country sees us as racist cowboys, and an example needs to be made. This is 2013! It’s not like one of the most powerful men in Texas is trying to push through an undemocratic tool that strips Hispanic and black voters of their rights! That would be ridiculous. Actually, that’s exactly what’s happening.

Wendy Davis and Ted Cruz news
Two of the most buzzed about Texas lawmakers are making waves in Washington this week. Davis (D-Fort Worth) has been speaking at various Democratic events in the nation’s capital, adding to the rumors that she will be considering running for a higher public office. The next Ann Richards? Maybe. The next Kay Bailey Hutchison? Perhaps a bit more likely (KBH's Republican leanings aside).

Speaking of Texas senators, what’s going on with that delightful Ted Cruz? Well, he’s continuing his Tour de Crazy this week bashing Obamacare, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and his fellow Republicans in the Senate. Right now, Cruz alongside Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco “Thirsty” Rubio (R-Florida) are attempting to block Obamacare by simply not voting a budget and then shaming fellow Republicans by calling them "scared."

And you thought all Canadians were nice.