Good morning Austin:
OK. Admit it. You miss them.
Oh sure, when sine die arrived Monday you were happy to see it end, glad to see them go.
Until it ended. And they left.
And then you woke up yesterday feeling lonely and all alone. Pointless.
Sine die.It literally means, Without day.
As in the fading of the light. Death.
And did Gov. Greg Abbott have to rub it in Monday, telling reporters that with no special session in sight, “The legislators are going home today and I do not anticipate them coming back until 2017.”
2017? That’s not even next year. That’s the year after. Really?
No Stickland for some 600 days?
No points of order? No chubbing? No surreptitious filming?
No. Not right. Not acceptable.
So, you can imagine how my heart soared last night when, nearly two hours into a conference call being conducted by JoAnn Fleming, head of the tea party group, Grass Roots America – We the People, Cathie Adams, a former Texas Republican Party Chairman who heads the Texas Eagle Forum, said that sine die cannot stand, that it is incumbent upon Abbott to call the Legislature back to Austin for a special session.
Hallelujah! We are saved.
As the regular session drew to a close, Fleming – who also heads Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s grass-roots task force – told Mike Ward and Peggy Fikac that,“I’d give the Senate a C, and the House a failing grade. Overall, the Legislature would get a D in my classroom.”
Last night, Fleming, at the outset of the call, explained its purpose:
We want to make sure that you all have very good information, as we want to make sure that the Texas fairy tale – another chapter is written after every legislative session – where a lot of politicians want to make you believe that the session was as conservative as it possibly could have been, they did everything they could to pass conservative legislation and they just couldn’t get it done either because of the other guy, the other chamber, the clock ran out, the dog ate my homework, or something. There’s always some kind of excuse..
And I believe that most everyone on the call tonight agrees that we have run out of time for political excuses.
As to why Adams – and Fleming – want a special session, it all has to do with the failure of the Legislature to enact legislation to fight against the likelihood of a forthcoming Supreme Court decision affirming same-sex marriage, with the sole exception of a “Pastor Protection Act,” which was so tame it ended up gaining virtually unanimous support in the House, including that of Rep. Celia Israel, who is lesbian and a staunch defender of LGBT rights.
Here is how Adams explained the need for a special, which is really best read in its entirety:
It really is an issue, not just to pastors, as we heard about the Kleins in Oregon and their bakery, Sweet Cakes simply denying the baking of a cake for a same sex couple and they were fined $135,000 and put out of business. We also know that there’s a couple in Texas who just started a business hosting weddings in Texas in a new facility and having booked already through the end of this year with a new brand new business 40 weddings. They are not going to do same-sex weddings with their facilities. Well, if they do not and the Supreme Court decides as we think they will, is this going to put this business out as well?
It’s the florists, it’s the bakeries, it’s the pastors who were affected, but all of us were affected. One word that was repeated by Justice (Anthony) Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court was millennia. Millennia. That is thousands of years of history and never, even when homosexual unions are part of a decaying culture in the Roman Empire, it was part of a decaying culture, yet marriages were never sanctioned. Why? Because millennia of history have shown that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and they didn’t even have that much decadence in the Roman Empire to condone and establish a marriage for same-sex couple. So we are taking decadence to a new low level.
And so there was a bill, House Bill 4105, carried by Cecil Bell, and, of course, many who were pushing this bill thought, well he supported Speaker Straus so therefore that bill, so it’s sure to get the favor of the speaker, and another one of the supporters of this bill said, “Yes and I trust Todd Hunter,” the chairman of the Calendars Committee, and “I trust Byron Cook,” the chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, hearing this bill.”
Well, today that man was singing a very different tune. His head was handed to him on a silver platter by Todd Hunter and Byron Cook. I am a proud donor and endorser of the political opponent to Byron Cook as well as to (an opponent to) Jim Keffer,one the men you have heard about tonight, as well as the man challenging Charlie Geren. Those are three key lieutenants to this speaker that have earned opposition but have not earned reelection and these issue are very important to us.
Millennia of history, even cited by the swing vote on the U.S. Supreme Court, and Texas is willing to, not lead the nation, but to absolutely bow and scrape before one percent of the U.S. ‘population that is homosexual.
This bill would have simply said we are going to move marriage licenses away from just a local or county distribution level to an elected statewide official, as in the comptroller, because when someone is elected to a statewide position then he is accountable to those voters. And so we were going to move marriage licenses to be overseen by the comptroller and, secondly, to deny funding also of course under the purview of the comptroller, to those local and county governments that would issue same-sex marriage licenses. Again, House Bill 4105 by Cecil Bell got onto the House calendar, died there, got on very late, knowing full well that there would be not only too many other bills but also too much chubbing, which is filibustering by the Democrats, thereby killing the bill. The Senate bill never received a hearing. It was in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Again we have heard the promises, we have heard the conviction personally of our lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, but in this case his appointment as State Affairs chairman of Joan Huffman was very much the demise of some of our very good pieces of legislation.
The good news is the pastors are protected. The bad news is no other business in the state of Texas would be protected and whether this would even hold after the U.S. Supreme Court decides for same state marriage as we expect them to do toward the end of the month. I think all of this is up for grabs and Texas right now has nothing to protect us from a U.S. Supreme Court decision that is anarchy.
When we threw God out of our schools and said we will not have prayer in our schools, what did we the people do, what did the church do? We stood by and we watched. That was in the 1960s and then we saw life become irrelevant, again by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 70s. Today we are looking at marriage to be sacrificed on the altar of decadence by the U.S. Supreme Court later this month. Are we the people going to stand up? Are we going to demand that Texas lead, that our governor holds to his stated conviction, that our lieutenant governor holds to his stated conviction that marriage is indeed between a man and a woman? Are we going to stand up for the Constitution of this state? Are we going to stand up for the statutes, the laws of this state and say that we must now have a special session in order to make a statement and to protect Texas from the overreach of the Supreme Court? Or are we going to decided instead to let the Supreme Court overrule the Tenth Amendment, state’s rights, certainly the moral laws of millennia of history and the founders of this nation on Judeo-Christian thinking and traditions? Are we going to stand by again, as we did with prayer, as we did with life, now? Are we going to do the same thing with marriage? That is what is now facing us and we have a decision to make.
For me … I am supporting the call for our governor to call a special session now, or forever hold our peace. We must stand up for marriage. We must push back on this tyranny from the bench.
I think I’ve probably said enough JoAnn.
Then from Fleming:
Well Cathie that was absolutely well said, very well said.
I want to remind people how this thing became convoluted whenever Mr. Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business, for the first time – I want people on this call to understand this – for the first time a recognized business organization decided at the beginning of the session that they would hold a press conference in the Capitol and business would hold a press conference with the LGBTXYZ group, as I call them, and say, “Texas is not the place to pass any religious liberty bills or any bills like Indiana tried to do and Arkansas, Texas is not the place because it would be bad for business.”
I have to tell you folks, it’s time for a different business organization, because I do not believe in the state of Texas that all business owners and all business leaders agree with Mr. Bill Hammond.
I can tell you Cathie, that when that happened it was like the shot across the bow. People decided, leaders who should have been speaking up, became silent, and Cathie, I agree with you and I want to join you in saying that Grassroots America – We The People is going to join with you and other groups to call on the governor to step up and lead on this issue.
Because I will tell you, Cathie I was on the phone call with some people today that I know you’ve talked to in the past, because across the country, people who are arguing this case before the Supreme Court, arguing the side of maintaining traditional marriage, they were counting on Texas to lead, they were counting on it because if Texas stood up then it would send a message to the Supreme Court. We sent no message. We sent a whimper, because we had people in the House who signed a letter saying, well you know, we couldn’t pass a bill but we support marriage. Same thing over in the Senate – not a letter but a resolution. That my friends is called a political fig leaf and it covers nothing. So Cathie I’m with you all the way.
Is there anything else you’d like to address?
Just a sound bite for people to remember.
The pre-K debacle, as I have called it throughout, was an emergency item by our Gov. Abbott, House Bill 4, and what it is a teachers’ jobs program, so we’re talking about increasing jobs for teachers. We are increasing spending from the state coffers to schools over $4 billion in the next biennium. That’s what part of the money will go to – teacher jobs.
(note: I am not sure what she is referring to here. Abbott’s pre-K initiative has a $130 million price tag. Universal, full-day pre-K, which Wendy Davis called for but Abbott has not, would cost an estimated $4 billion over two years.)
Back to Adams, and what for me was my first introduction to the unified field theory of pre-K as not so much an expression of Godless socialism as greedy capitalism.
And then it is, this pre-K bill, is a cheap labor bill because if you can have a young mom, unmarried, have a baby, she’s already got food stamps, she’s already got housing supplements, she’s already got all these programs, now we are going to provide her with babysitting at taxpayer expense so that those businesses that Bill Hammond represents in the Texas Association of Business can also have more cheap laborers, and so cheaper jobs and cheap labor, that’s what this is all about. Taxpayer-funded babysitting. This is not what Texans believe in. This is going to be competing with private businesses, including our churches which provide excellent baby care and child care, and it’s been a private-run, spiritual-focused and wholesome environment for children that parents choose if they want it. So now we’ve got a taxpayer-funded babysitting and I couldn’t be more unhappy.
I spoke to Fleming after the conference call and she said she agreed with the demand for a special session and thought at this point it should be limited to dealing with same-sex marriage.
She said the other issue that might have tempted her was border security. She said that without a change in our “catch-and-release policy,” the $800 million enhanced border security bill just enacted was “a border spending bill, it’s not going to secure the border.”
But, even without a special session, she said of the border program, “I believe that will work itself out.”
In the meantime, in his own effort to suck the drama out of the next couple years, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday that he will never run for governor.
“This was a smooth session, and whatever anyone says about the success of the session, the credit all goes to you,” he told the senators.
Meeting with reporters afterward, Patrick said he wanted to address persistent rumors about whether he would challenge Gov. Greg Abbott in the next primary.
“Let me bury that today,” Patrick said. “I will never be running against Greg Abbott for governor.”
Not only that, Patrick added, he will not run for governor, period. “I will be lieutenant governor and this will be my last position. This will be my last job in Texas,” he said. “I love this job. This is where the action is. It’s a lot of fun.”
Oh my God.
How brilliantly, transparently, diabolically Machiavellian.
Sure, tell Greg Abbott that you’ve never contemplated and would never contemplate challenging him for governor. Lull him into complacency. Let him think that he doesn’t have to worry about hewing as hard right as possible to fend off a potential challenge, that he doesn’t have to heed calls by JoAnn Fleming or Cathie Adams for a special session, that he can indulge his pre-K bliss to his heart’s content.
And then, wham, one day Dan Patrick announces that, much as it pains him to say so, Greg Abbott has unaccountably drifted from conservative principles and that it is with a heavy heart that he must challenge Abbott for governor, that as little as he wants to do it, that is the last mission that God has placed on this servant-leader’s heart.
On the other hand, Patrick might have just been telling the simple, straightforward truth.