THE BIG CONVERSATION:
The hottest new thing in Texas politics? Prefiling.
Just ask state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, who camped out at the Capitol for 36 hours to be the first lawmaker to submit legislation when the House clerk's office opened for prefiling Monday morning. "I would have waited a month if I had to do so," Riddle said.
As Ben Philpott of the Tribune and KUT News reports, Republicans don't normally file legislation for the next session early, but after their huge electoral victories in the state last week, a number of conservative lawmakers wasted no time in starting the legislative process as soon as possible, with most focusing on illegal immigration.
Riddle filed nine bills, which included measures supporting voter ID and other Arizona-style immigration policy. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van Zandt, were among those who filed other immigration-related bills.
Legislators cited last week's Republican rout in their push for stricter immigration policy. "The overwhelming majority is saying that they want something done," Riddle said of the issue. "They want their families to be safe."
And after the recent Republican victories in the House and sweep of statewide offices, such legislation stands a much greater chance of passage than in 2007 and 2009, when Republicans held a much slimmer advantage in the House.
- For those expecting something knock-down, drag-out, it might have disappointed, but Gov. Rick Perry's appearance on The Daily Show last night lacked neither substance nor spirit — and even ran too long for a full broadcast. (All seven minutes are now online). Not unexpectedly, talk focused on states' rights, with Perry tying heavy-handed federal policy to the dawning of the progressive era. Other notable topics: the Articles of Confederation, George W. Bush, California, and Texas' superiority to … India? The governor, though, appeared to be enjoying himself and on Twitter after the taping called Stewart "one smart and engaging dude!"
- Meanwhile, Perry, who has repeatedly denied that he's not running for president, also made news Monday when he took a shot at likely presidential candidate Mitt Romney over health care.
- A 16-year-old's apparent asphyxiation by a staffer applying a restraint has called attention to the Daystar residential treatment center, where, earlier this year, employees were reported to have forced disabled girls to fight each other. As the Tribune and the Houston Chronicle report, the incident occurred just four days after the state placed the facility on probation.
- In a rare bit of good news for state Democrats and a blow to Republican hopes for a 100-member supermajority, State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, appears to have hung on to her District 48 seat. Provisional and overseas ballots tallied Monday gave Howard a razor-thin 16-vote lead.
- Prosecutors who attended GOP election party dismissed from Dallas County DA's office, The Dallas Morning News
- Ortiz calls for recount in close congressional race, The Monitor
- DeLay's defense suggests case stems from ex-DA's political bias, Houston Chronicle
- The George Bush I Know, The Daily Beast