Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cockfighting, piracy, black helicopters and needle exchange

Here are a few more odds and ends from yesterday's Senate proceedings wrapping up the narrative on bills this blog has covered at various times throughout the session:

Cockfighting and highway piracy
Sen. John Whitmire tacked on his SB 1529 regulating asset forfeiture "waivers" to an enhancement bill on cockfighting, the Statesman's Mike Ward reports. The bill was on the major state calendar for days but never received a vote in the House before time ran out. See prior Grits coverage.

'Black helicopters' take out needle exchange
Less fortunate was Sen. Bob Deuell's needle exchange bill SB 188, which like the asset forfeiture bill was left sitting on the calendar in the House thanks to all the chubbing waiting on a vote that would never come. Sen. Troy Fraser spearheaded efforts to kill the amendment, leading Sen. Deuell, an East Texas Republican (and medical doctor) to pronounce, "I think it's time, especially for you Republicans, that if we're to remain a viable party, we need to start looking at medical facts and dealing with reality and not dealing with black helicopters and other myths that are out there by the right wing extremists."

DPS Sunset bill becomes Christmas tree
The DPS Sunset bill was approved by the Senate with a battery of amendments I've yet to examine. I did notice Sen. Florence Shapiro got her data reporting improvement plan, favorably discussed here and here, tacked onto the bill as an amendment. Sen. Tommy Williams added an interesting looking amendment that transfers "certain records and regulatory functions relating to dispensing controlled substances by prescription" from DPS to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.

Conference committee to decide red-light cameras' fate

House amendments to the Department of Transportation Sunset bill requiring that municipalities phase out use of red-light cameras did not make it into the Senate version, leaving the issue to be decided by a conference committee. Gary Elkins out of Harris County is urging House conferees to stand firm; I couldn't agree more.

1 comment:

doran said...

To paraphrase something I heard in a Keith Olberman video clip recently: "The Texas Legislature: Too small for a Republic, just the right size for an insane asylum."