League City Mayor Pat Hallisey is unsure whether the city should lend its support to a county commissioner’s plan to clean out Clear Creek.
The League City Council on Tuesday considered a resolution supporting County Commissioner Ken Clark’s idea to hire a private business to remove fallen trees from the channel and cut down brush along the creek banks to improve drainage and reduce flooding.
Other county commissioners, however, have been skeptical about whether Clark’s proposal would be an effective use of county money, particularly if the project clears only the Galveston County side of the creek, as Clark has proposed.
On Tuesday, Hallisey said he was getting mixed messages about the project and who would pay for it, and was hesitant about offering the city’s support to an initiative that didn’t have a clear path forward.
“To pick a side right now doesn’t seem in our best interest,” Hallisey said.
Hallisey worried there could be repercussions for taking sides in a controversy.
“Anytime you get in the crossfire, you’re going to get shot,” he said.
Despite Hallisey’s concerns, other League City council members said the project was worth supporting, even without the clearest details.
“Clearly it’s in the city of League City’s best interest to get the creek de-snagged, whether it’s all of it, half of it, part of it, anything,” said Councilman Hank Dugie. “We need to show that we would like our county tax dollars to go to do something about the creek, however it may be.”
Hallisey was apparently alone in his caution.
The council voted 7-1 to support the resolution. Commissioners could vote on putting a plan out to bid as soon as Monday.
The 86th Texas Legislative session got to an unofficial start Monday, when legislators and legislators-elect began filing bills to be considered during the session.
More than 400 bills were filed in the opening hours of the rush, including proposals to ban daylight saving time in Texas, decriminalize marijuana and repeal the state’s unconstitutional laws prohibiting “homosexual conduct.”
Not every legislator jumps in on the early bill action, and indeed the three people who represent most of Galveston County, state Sen. Larry Taylor, state Rep. Greg Bonnen and state Rep.-elect Mayes Middleton, hadn’t filed any bills as of Wednesday afternoon.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton, whose district includes Bolivar Peninsula, had filed two bills — a bill clarifying language on a law that prohibits weapons on school campuses and a resolution claiming state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, a “leave us alone” measure he’s proposed since 2015.
State Rep. Dennis Paul, who represents the Harris County parts of Friendswood and League City, filed four bills. Among them is a proposal to prohibit landlords from banning legally owned guns from rental properties and another giving Houston the authority to create a spaceport development corporation.
The first day of the Texas legislative session is Jan. 8.
EXPANDED FREEDOM CAUCUS
The fallout of last week’s midterm elections is still being assessed, but it appears that while Democrats picked up control of the U.S. House of Representatives, a group of more conservative legislators will have more control of the new minority party.
Politico reports that the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus lost two current members from its ranks, but is expected to get five new members in the new Congress. With a smaller total group of Republicans overall, the percentage of more-Conservative Republicans actually increased.
Whether that matters much in the new state of play remains to be seen. The caucus stood in the way of some Republican legislation when the party was in the majority, but with Democrats in charge of one chamber, it’s expected that gridlock will be the norm.
“Everybody acts like the Freedom Caucus when you’re in the minority,” one person told Politico.
U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, of Friendswood, is a member of the House Freedom Caucus.
State Rep. Dennis Bonnen announced Monday he would run for Speaker of the House in the Texas House of Representatives. He accompanied the announcement with a letter claiming the support of 109 members of the House, including local State Reps. Greg Bonnen (his brother) and the newly elected Mayes Middleton. ... U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said last week he isn’t interested in being the next U.S. Attorney General, and would run for re-election in 2020. ... While other states are still in the midst of mid-term election recounts, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke sent a letter to supporters saying he was moving on from his failed campaign for Senate. “For our democracy to work, for us to be able to continue to work together, it’s important to be at peace with the outcome,” O’Rourke wrote. ... There are 719 days until the 2020 presidential election.