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NAX: Legislative follies: which way did they go? - Odessa American: Ken Brodnax

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NAX: Legislative follies: which way did they go?

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Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 12:00 am

OK, so all our fine public servants in the Texas Legislature have done it again. After the entire session (which only rolls around every two years), they’ve managed to leave all sorts of things hanging.

The Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Insurance, two significantly important agencies, are among the things left in limbo.

Meanwhile, the Senate is mad at the House for adjourning about 6 p.m. the final day without connecting some dots — and without even bothering to tell the members of the other chamber that they were turning out the lights. And, of course, the Republicans are mad at the Democrats and vice-versa. Everybody is pointing fingers at somebody else for being irresponsible.

Well, maybe they’re right. Our Legislature, not known for stellar behavior at any time in history, is a poster child for irresponsibility.

At least this time around no lawmakers fled to another state to bring business to a halt.

No, actually, they all stayed in Austin and worked together (sort of) to lock up the brakes on the legislative process.

Let us count the ways it turned into a mess. Seems the House was planning to approve a safety-net measure to keep state agencies from having to shut down by September 2010. The agencies — TxDOT, TDI, the Texas State Affordable Housing Corp. and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel — might have to close if the Legislature does not intercede before the 2010 deadline.

House leaders said they planned to include a safety net to keep the agencies open in a resolution concerning other matters. That was necessary because the House failed to approve a safety-net bill to keep the agencies in operation by a midnight Sunday deadline.

But senators weren’t on board with the House resolution because it didn’t address $2 billion in bond money.

So the Senate approved and sent to the House a resolution designed to fix the problem with the bonds. That’s when the House adjourned for the day and the session.

Maybe a special session will be needed to clear this mess up. Nobody’s ready to predict what comes next.

So in the meantime, it might be time for the people of Texas to kill a little time by coming up with a slogan for the late, not-so-great legislative session.

We can forget “Don’t Mess With Texas” because our lawmakers obviously did just that.

Perhaps we could borrow that unofficial “Keep Austin Weird” motto that we hear so often. After all, Austin can’t help but be weird when the politicos gather.

Maybe we ought to modify the old Darrell Royal saying by changing it to “If it’s broke, don’t fix it.”

Might want to do a version of the old Mad magazine line by changing one letter — “What, we worry?”

Better yet, let’s make it sound like a major motion picture — “140 Days in Disarray.”

Odessa, TX

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