Gov. Rick Perry is one step closer to scratching another item off of his emergency item list.
It’s more symbolic than anything else and not likely to attract much attention in Washington, D.C., but House Concurrent Resolution 18 — which urges Congress to submit to state governments an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget — was passed by the state Senate today with little fanfare. The House passed it last month.
The resolution was filed by state Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and was one of Perry’s first emergency items. It was sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, who told members that 49 states in the country have a balanced budget amendment, including Texas. (Vermont, apparently, does not.)
“[But] our nation operates in the red to the tune of $14 trillion,” she said, referring to the overall amount of the nation's debt, as opposed to the federal government's annual budget deficit, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will be about $1.5 trillion this year.
The vote today may serve as a nice consolation prize for Republicans a day after lawmakers were thrown for a loop on another of the governor's emergency items: eliminating sanctuary cities, the common term for entities where local law enforcement doesn’t inquire about immigration status. The bill, HB 12, was dealt a serious blow Wednesday when a Senate committee gutted a House bill that was half way to the governor’s desk. The legislation would have prevented entities from adopting “sanctuary city” policies. That said, most of Perry’s emergency items have moved through both chambers, including voter ID, sonograms for women getting abortions and eminent domain protection.