Hot List: Day 71 of the Legislature

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The Lead:

The real work begins for the Texas House today. House members will finally start to debate substantive bills on the floor, the most notable of which is HB 1000 that would establish a new university in South Texas. The bill, authored by Brownsville Democrat Rene Oliveira, passed unanimously out of committee and has a huge number of co-sponsors. So it would seem on its way to passing the House.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the House marked the halfway point of the session by hearing an apology from El Paso Rep. Naomi Gonzalez, who begged for forgiveness for her recent DWI and car crash that injured two people. We all love a repentant sinner: Gonzalez was greeted with a standing ovation after her apology, and as she swore to never again repeat her felonious deed.

Yesterday’s Headlines:

1. Sen. Kirk Watson’s bill that would ensure Texas homeowner’s right to build drought-resistant landscaping passed in the Senate yesterday.

2. In the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, lawmakers discussed the ever-controversial payday lending practices, and discussed ways to rein in the industry.

3. The Texas Tribune reports that the president of the Fort Bend County tea party was once “head of propaganda” for the American Fascist Party. James Ives is also a frequent guest on Sen. Dan Patrick’s radio show.

Line of the Day:

“It will be our greatest challenge, and our sweetest victory, to finally surpass this dark menace, this numbing threat from the shadows, and replace it with the pure sunbeam that is our Fascist Faith, our Fascist Truth.” —James Ives, in a blog post written in the early 2000s, as reported yesterday in The Texas Tribune.

What We’re Watching Today:

1.  Several interesting bills on environmental protection are scheduled to be debated today in the House Committee on Environmental Regulation. Here’s hoping for some changes.

2. There will be a Joint Legislative Committee on Oversight of Higher Ed Governance, Excellence and Transparency meeting this afternoon (that’s JLCOHEGET if you’re scoring at home) to “discuss issues related to higher education.” Go figure.

3. The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services meets today to discuss key early childhood health directives, including a bill relating to the definition of autism and developmental disorders. The committee will also hear a controversial bill that would require abortion facilities to meet the standards of surgical centers—a requirement that in other states has forced abortion clinics to close.