The House has blown its stack and made up again a couple of times since our last conversation, all within the rules, and all — if you take a long view of things —right on schedule. Senators, who had a group conniption fit last week, have remained clear to partly cloudy and calm.
Two things happen during the last month of every legislative session: One, the inhabitants of the Pink Building blow up a couple of times; and two, everybody says it's the worst they've ever seen it.
It is and has been an interesting session, but it's not so bad, and it's not all that remarkable after what happened last November 2. The Republicans won, big, and get to draw redistricting maps that institutionalize that win for the next decade. And the Texas House is markedly more conservative with a 101-49 Republican advantage than it was when the GOP had a miniscule edge of 76-74.
The abbreviated end-of-session routine:
Bills pile up in committees. Committees cram like students in finals week, passing things on to Calendars and quietly suffocating the rest. Bills pile up in Calendars, which does the same thing committees do. Bills pile up on the House agenda, and the internal deadlines start to strangle legislation all the way up to the night when the last House bill can be considered. And then it starts again with Senate bills.
On the other side of the building, the same thing happens, only it's murkier. The little green books that list bills eligible for consideration gets fatter and fatter and fatter. The Lite Guv works with senators on the semi-secret list of what'll be considered on what day, a complicated calculation based on politics, biorhythms of the senators and the battles and revenge plays among them, the clamor from various third parties —political hacks, lobbyists and the mere public — and the actions of the House and the governor.
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