To the Editor,
Once again, the big story about the Texas Legislative Session is the bills that did not get passed, or even considered. Generally speaking, legislation seeking to limit government got “lost” in the process and died. For instance, there were at least five bills introduced in the House and the Senate to nullify the operation of Obamacare in Texas just as other states have done. But the leadership (principally House Speaker Joe Straus) made sure those bills never came up for a vote.
Other legislation protecting Second Amendment rights also got lost in the shuffle, no doubt because the committee hearing most gun bills was chaired by an anti-gun Democrat appointed by Straus.
Conservative legislators who ran on a program of limiting government and taxes were told to support the leadership’s agenda first if they wanted any chance of having their own bills considered. And it was amazing how fast increased spending or tax bills favored by Straus and his minions moved through the process.
Consider what Representative David Simpson had to say about the budget bill:
The legislature passed appropriations of $20.8 billion, an increase of 25 percent over the previous legislature! A third of this was used to correct the smoke and mirrors used to “balance” the current biennial budget. However, current spending was topped off with another $1.5 billion.
So the estimated and budgeted spending for the current fiscal period is increasing $6.7 billion or eight percent over the previous period. And the budget for the 2014-15 biennium is set to increase another $7.7 billion or 8.7 percent.
Incredibly, as Simpson was testifying on the House floor opposing this budget Speaker Straus called the issue to a close, preventing Simpson from having enough time to get back to his desk to even cast his vote!
It seems clear that as long as Joe Straus remains Speaker of the Texas House he will use his position to thwart conservatives and prevent legislation to reduce the size and cost of government. Too bad that our own representative, Jim Pitts, is one of Straus’ henchmen.