There was a slaughter of local bills on Wednesday as the House considered its final local and consent calendar of the year.
A dozen bills in all were knocked off of what is usually a non-controversial item of House business. It all happened just hours after a Senate bill deadline struck, killing an abortion bill sought by the conservative wing of the House GOP caucus.
Some of the bills that died Wednesday were knocked off by a group of House conservatives, leading some to view the action as purely partisan payback.
Deciphering partisan intent after the fact can be challenging, though. Some bills on Local and Consent were definitively killed. Others were just threatened with death. Some were caught in the waves of reprisals that followed an initial killing.
One thing is for sure: The above list of the dead is a bipartisan one and would seem to demonstrate as well that partisan animosity could have been just one of the reasons for the death of some of these bills.
It bears repeating that the local and consent process is designed to ensure that only non-controversial bills or bills with just a local impact make that particular calendar.
And while bills have been popped before this session, it’s always interesting to see that the massacres routinely happen late in session. There’s no time like a final calendar of a session to execute revenge for a past or a not-so-past slight.
State Rep. Tom Craddick is waving the white flag on getting a statewide texting while driving ban passed this session. "I am sad to report that the third time was not a charm [for House Bill 80]," the Midland Republican said in a statement Thursday.
This is the third session Craddick has filed the legislation. The bill passed the House easily but lacked the votes needed to bring it to the Senate floor for consideration, despite bipartisan support.
"It is always disappointing when good legislation does not get enacted, but it is especially tough to tell the families that have lost loved ones because of a texting while driving crash," Craddick said, "or to look in the eye of a victim who is permanently confined to a wheelchair because of a distracted driving crash that the statewide ban on texting while driving will not become law."
Hurd won the CD-23 seat from Alpine Democrat Pete Gallego last year. In what is sure to be an expensive race, Gallego has announced that he is seeking a rematch next year.
The Gallego campaign was quick to criticize the Cheney invite.
Gallego campaign spokesman Anthony Gutierrez said in a statement, "Dick Cheney — known for being both the driving force behind pushing America into the Iraq War as well as the most unpopular Vice President in modern history — is apparently Congressman Will Hurd's idea of a great party host.”
And in another CD-23 development, the House Democratic political arm is launching a round of Spanish-language robocalls in the district, urging respondents to call the freshman Republican's Del Rio office to complain about a recent vote he cast blocking "Dreamers," immigrants brought to the United States illegally at a young age, from serving in the military.