Page 23


Dialogue, continued from page 2 FANS OF MOLLY We love you, Molly. If they ever kick you out of that church you call a state down there….C’mon up! You have a home here. Thanks for all of your hard work, Jack Gillespie Pennsauken, NJ How fortunate we are to have a politically aware person such as Molly Ivins. I’ve been reading her columns for years and never fail to agreeand, often, chuckle. Not at the happenings she, and I deplore, but in the telling of the stories. Sue Geisler Via e-mail LONG MAY WE WAVE I found your website after seeing Molly Ivins on C-span and just wanted to thank you for being intelligent and presenting viewpoints that actually make sense. Your website is also a gem, quick and easy to use. Long may you wave. Marie Bannon Via e-mail DID HE READ WHAT WE WROTE? You’re just as bad as the people you criticize \(“Ideology versus Demography,” recipe for a worthwhile future! Don’t you realize that a successful effort to “keep taxes low” has made our state a national disgrace for generations. Since you’re probably a newcomer, I’ll give you a little Texas history. During its early daysfor decades before and after the Civil WarTexas was a poor, crackerass state dependent on agriculture and ranching. Taxes had to be kept low because there was so little money to pay them. Even the “wealthy” measured their wealth not in cash but in acreage, timber, and livestock. The underprivileged suffered. Then came the 20th century and oil. With wealth that could now be measured in cash, the wealthy of Texas elected not to share but to retain the “keep taxes low” policies of crackerass states such as Mississippi, Arkansas, and the like. The underprivileged in Texas still suffer. And stupid assholes like you continue to recite the oligarchy mantra of “keep taxes low?’ Gene Campbell Dallas Party, continued from page 15 than 26 weeks, unless having the baby would jeopardize the woman’s life or the baby has serious brain damage. The medical examiners bill passed with both abortion amendments intact, and Gov. Perry signed the measure into law. But the parental consent measure that finally passed wasn’t the strong legislation that social conservatives had wanted. Pro-choice advocates refer to the measure as a “clean consent” bill, because it simply changes the requirements in state law from “notification” to c`consent.” Critics believe that the legislative maneuver that piggybacked it on another bill could make it vulnerable to challenge in court. Social conservatives had hoped to pass not just a consent bill, but new restrictions on judicial bypasses for minors seeking abortions. Under current law, a judge can waive the parental if the teenager has abusive parents or if notifying the girl’s parents would put her at risk. HB 1212, which died on the House floor, would have stipulated that only judges from the minor’s own county or an adjacent county could grant a bypass. Those provisions would have severely hampered a girl’s chances, especially in small towns, of obtaining a judicial bypass. In its final version, the “clean” parental consent amendment leaves judicial bypasses unchanged. Prochoice advocates consider that a significant defensive victory. Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, says he’s disappointed in the final, weakened version of the parental consent bill. “We wanted to make sure we had the strongest language possible;’ he says. But Pojman adds that, “What we have with the [consent] amendment is still an improvement in the current law.” Another big issue for social conservatives this session was legislation to ban or restrict stem cell research and cloning. Those efforts went nowhere. “It became pretty clear early on that no one wanted to pick up stem cell legislation this session;’ says Phil Dupre, legislative coordinator for the Texas Freedom Network. He says TFN effectively killed stem cell legislation in the House, and there was no force behind it in the Senate. The lack of action was a major disappointment for groups such as the Texas Alliance for Life. For Democrats, the session offers some encouragement. They adjusted to a new set of rules of engagement, and found success playing legislative defense, killing a number of religious right initiatives with points of order and other parliamentary weapons. “We definitely got smarter about the rules and were successful at killing bad bills through parliamentary procedures;’ says Rep. led Democratic efforts to defeat the parental consent bills. “I feel the *progressives in the Democratic Party have been very effective in protecting our agenda this session. But I think we still have a long way to go.” Indeed, Republicans will control the levers of power in state government for quite some time, and social conservatives pledge to use their failures this session as motivation in future campaigns. In that respect, the religious right’s defeats this session may prove a boon to GOP electoral prospects in 2006. Gov . Perry, in particular, will be counting on the social conservative wing of his partyas the bill signing in Fort Worth made clearif U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison challenges him for the 2006 Republican gubernatorial nomination. A right-wing base hungry for more legislative success will no doubt help the Perry campaign, and GOP House and Senate candidates. As Pojman pointed out, “These are losses we will come back and fight for next session?’ Some Republicans, no doubt, are counting on it. Elayne Mae Esterline is an Observer legislative intern. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JUNE 24, 2005