In a remarkable demonstration of legislative dithering, state Representative Rick Miller (R-Sugar Land) managed today to get a House Joint Resolution regarding federal spending through an initial hurdle in the state House.
It’s not surprising, really, that the Lege passed on second reading HJR 77, which calls on U.S. Congress to convene “to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress.” That’s the kind of stuff NObama Texas GOPers live for. But its timing was rather poignant.
Today is the last day the Legislature may hear second readings of House bills and Joint Resolutions, and boy are they backed up. Partly for this reason, and partly because he knew it would never pass the Senate anyway, minutes before Miller hit the floor to present HJR 77, Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen) withdrew a painstakingly crafted, if controversial, bipartisan bill overhauling the (unconstitutional) public school finance system. So instead of a debate on how to best provide an equitable education to Texas’s children, we almost immediately got a debate on… limiting the power of federal government, in terms about as sophisticated as what your drunken uncle might bring up at Thanksgiving.
We also got attempts to debate every other damn thing under the sun, as House Dems, wary of a few upcoming bills unfavorable to both LGBT and pro-choice camps, saw an easy opportunity to stall discussion (aka “chubbing”). For more than an hour, Democrat representatives brought 10 hopeless amendments to tack on to HJR 77, covering everything from the Voting Rights Act to equal pay to usury.
So, three cheers for Miller, who has represented much of Sugar Land and Ft. Bend County since being elected in 2012, for unintentionally aiding the underdog Democrats and showing that some government activities — like passing hollow resolutions while other bills wither under a looming deadline — are indeed wasteful, unnecessary, and not in the best interest of the majority of citizens.