Hot list Day 113

Day 113 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“The question isn’t whether we are making our enemies mad. The question is, what are we doing to make our enemies learn never to make us mad.”
State Sen. Brian Birdwell on the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

David Dewhurst isn’t your average lawmaker. With a history in the CIA, the potential candidate for U.S. Senate has a few mysteries in his past. So when he held a press conference on the death of Osama bin Laden, reporters couldn’t help but try to get a few questions answered.  

The Senate Health and Human Services committee will vote today on a bill to renew the Women’s Health Program, which provides birth control and other healthcare services to low-income women. But there’s a catch: the bill prohibits Planned Parenthood from participating, and if they were to sue against that prohibition, the program would dissolve all together. Women’s health advocates, who want the program renewed and expanded, are being forced to choose between two evils – support the bill without one of the largest providers, or lose the program entirely.

The Senate two-thirds rule, which requires 21 votes before any bill can be debated, has effectively blocked much of the more contentious legislation from passing the upper chamber this session. As Jason Embry reports, Tea Partiers and conservative activists might have been better off targeting this moderating force, rather than Speaker of the House Joe Straus.  

Today the House will take up legislation to curb bullying in schools and “Choose Life” license plates. Both chambers are slated to hear several bills on “non-tax revenue” that might allow for fewer cuts to state services—but also face scrutiny from members of both parties. Meanwhile, the big question continues on whether or not the Senate budget has enough support to come onto the floor.

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