20 to 11; 95 to 55
Those are not lopsided football or basketball scores. They are the practically quorum-proof majorities Republicans enjoy in the House and Senate. With those margins Texas Republicans could create a real paradise for businesses and residents. Visions of high speed rail, the world’s best public education system and a leadership role in crafting solutions for immigration and health care are just some of the positive results we should demand from a Republican Party with a virtual lock on the state capital.
Realistically I would be happy if they would just build a few roads, fix the broken public education and property tax systems and stop messing around with people’s right to vote.
Instead, what are we getting from the 2017 legislative session? How about homophobia, bigotry, misogyny, fiscal irresponsibility and a million-dollar special session so that Dapper Dan Patrick can try to ram his transgender-phobic “bathroom bill” down our throats one more time.
The Senate wasted months on SB25 ironically nicknamed the “wrongful birth” bill, which would have prevented mothers who give birth to children with fatal birth defects from suing their doctors even if the doctor knew and chose not to tell the mother of the condition.
The House, where supposedly the grown-ups live, took their turn on the crazy-go-round by passing HB 3859, ironically called “Freedom to Serve Children Act.” That bill allows even state funded adoption and foster care agencies the “freedom” to reject potential adoptive or foster parents who might be LGBT, Jewish, Muslims or atheists on the basis of their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
These radical proposals were designed to make primary voters think Texas politicians actually care about mothers and children. I mean. who could possibly be against freedom to serve children or for wrongful birth and of course who could possibly be in favor of men in women’s bathrooms. The problem is when you look past the rhetoric at the state budget this is what you find.
More than $1 billion in public education costs was transferred from state to local taxpayers. No effort was made to fix public education or property taxes. Proposals to increase funding for pre-K and disabled children were short changed and DPS got more money for even more troopers on the border. The legislature couldn’t even balance the budget without using an accounting trick to delay a $2 billion payment for highway funding until 2020, which is one pretty big can to kick down the road.
But don’t worry thanks to Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session. Dapper Dan and the radical right wing fringe of the Republican Party can now burn millions more in taxpayer dollars debating private school vouchers, more anti-abortion regulations and the importance of banning local tree preservation ordinances. And even if all that fails, at least they have protected doctors from their pregnant patients and ensured that thousands of homeless children won’t be adopted by LGBT, Muslim or Jewish households. Obviously it is still business as usual in Austin.