Hot List: Day 65 of the Legislature

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It’s Celebrate the Second Amendment Day at the Capitol. You might say that’s every day at the Texas Legislature, and you’d have a point (it may be second in the Constitution, but it’s first in Texans’ hearts, or so it seems). But this afternoon a select House committee will hear a slate of anti-gun-control bills, most of them designed to nullify any federal regulation of guns in Texas.

For the last few sessions, Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) has created a select committee for tea party members to vent. Last session it was a committee on Tenth Amendment issues. This session it’s the House Select Committee on Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility. This afternoon the panel will hear seven bills (seven!), all filed by Republicans, aimed at nullifying or restricting federal gun control laws.

It’s doubtful that any of these bills—should they become law—would be constitutional. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution generally doesn’t allow states to ignore or nullify federal laws and regulations. Federal laws aren’t really optional. But, hey, it should still be excellent political theater.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. Texas has the most minimum wage workers in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Dallas Morning News has details. So maybe the growing Texas economy isn’t benefiting everyone.

2. StateImpact Texas reports that tax exemptions will cost Texas more than $49 billion this year, according to the Comptroller. That’s a lot of lost revenue when public schools and state parks are struggling.

3. The House agreed with Senate changes to the supplemental spending bill for Medicaid and sent it to the governor. The IOU bill needs to pass soon to pay for the final six months of Medicaid this year. The Morning News has more.

Line of the Day:

“There is nothing you can do that will allow me to get back my 25 years. So, what I’m asking you to do is not make it better for me, but to act in your own self-interest. Act for yourselves. Don’t let what happened to me happen to you or to any of your constituents.” —Michael Morton, who spent 25 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, testifying in favor of a bill to punish prosecutor misconduct.

What We’re Watching Today:

1. The Senate Economic Development Committee this morning will hear SB 21, which would drug test certain people applying for unemployment benefits.

2. The House State Affairs Committee will debate a bill today that would address state costs for elected officials traveling out of state for political purposes (ahem, Rick Perry’s presidential campaign?).

3. Senate Finance continues to finalize its version of the budget bill. Then the senators will adjourn for another long weekend.

Dave Mann has been with the Observer since 2003. Before that, he worked as a reporter in Fort Worth and Washington, D.C. He was born and raised in Philadelphia. He thinks border collies are the world’s greatest dogs, and believes in the nourishing powers of pickup basketball.