In Texas the GOP Governor Perry, GOP Lt. Governor Dewhursgt, and the GOP Speaker of the House Straus spoke out of both sides of their mouth when it came to giving lip service to the anti-SANCTUARY CITY Bill. The Bill was passed out of the State Senate but failed in the House even though the GOP said they were supporters of the anti-SANCUARY CITY Bill and out numbered the Democrats 101-49. The Bill of course was not supported by the Special Interest Groups in Texas that financially benefit from the cheap ILLEGAL labor led by BOB PERRY the owner of PERRY HOME BUILDERS and a Mr. BUTT the owner of H-E-B a large Grocery Chain. One most likely recieves cheap ILLEGAL labor to build homes anf the other also most likely utilize the cheap ILLEGAL labor and also caters to the ILLEGALS as customers.

State's top leaders walk off as winners

In next race, Perry, Dewhurst and Straus can brag of a balanced budget and no new taxes

July 3, 2011, 11:38AM

Deborah Cannon Associated Press
Some leaned left, some right. But on the last day of the session, Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, leaned back.

Fiscal matters: The Legislature passed two key fiscal matters bills needed to balance the budget. Lawmakers used the budget bills to pass a complicated financing mechanism, which aims to lessen the funding disparities between rich and poor school districts while cutting $5.4 billion in future school funding.

School mandates: Lawmakers approved legislation that allows school districts to furlough teachers, allows that teachers be given less notice before being laid off and makes it easier to expand class sizes.

TWIA overhaul: The agreement restricts the rights of Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency policy- holders to sue the quasi-governmental insurer and limits damages.

Medicaid reforms: The bill dramatically expands managed care in the Rio Grande Valley; allows hospitals, doctors and insurers to collaborate on providing care; and provides a mechanism to allow Texas to join interstate compacts for Medicaid.


'Sanctuary cities': The bill backed by Perry, but opposed by police departments across the state, would have barred cities from prohibiting law enforcement officers from asking the citizenship status of individuals they detain. The Senate voted the proposal out after hours of emotional debate only to see it languish in the House. A last-ditch effort to save the bill by trying to attach it to a must-pass budget bill failed when Senate budget negotiators refused to allow it, fearing the controversial legislation would sink the budget.

Anti-groping bill: The Senate OK'd a bill that would make it a crime for TSA agents to perform intrusive pat-down searches without reasonable suspicion a crime was being committed. The bill was doomed when it failed to muster a four-fifths vote needed to take it up for consideration on the final day of the session.

Southbound checkpoints: The Senate approved a measure to allow the Texas Department of Public Safety to set up southbound checkpoints to search traffic heading into Mexico, in a bid to slow the flow of money and guns across the border. The bill was never assigned to a House committee and died.

Statewide smoking ban: For a while, it seemed Rep. Myra Crownover's, R-Denton, crusade for a statewide smoking ban would pay off. In the end, the Texas Senate pulled the measure off a key budget bill it had been attached to during the regular session. Efforts to pass the ban during the special session went nowhere.


Sonogram bill: Gov. Rick Perry signed the legislation requiring doctors to show women seeking an abortion a sonogram of the fetus, provide a description of the fetus's physical characteristics and play its heartbeat over a speaker system.

Voter ID: Recently signed into law by Perry, the law will require Texans to present select forms of government-issued photo identification in addition to voter identification cards to cast a ballot at the polls. Minority groups contend the law will make it harder for poor and elderly Texans to participate in elections.

Eminent domain: The bill, widely supported in both the House and the Senate, would make it more difficult for state and local governments to take private property. The legislation prohibits the taking of property for a non-public use, requires government entities to pay relocation costs and would allow owners to buy back properties if the public use project is canceled.

Budget: In a bid to close a massive shortfall, the Legislature passed a budget that cuts $5.4 billion in expected funding for public schools, slashes $11.3 billion from Health and Human Services, and delays some spending to the next budget. Lawmakers expect to have to take up an immediate $4.8 billion shortfall in Medicaid funding when they reconvene in 2013.

Elections reform: Lawmakers voted to move the date for runoff elections in Texas to the fourth Tuesday in May to comply with the federal Military Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which requires states to provide ballots to soldiers and sailors serving overseas 45 days before an election. Congress passed the legislation in 2009 to make it easier for service members to participate in non-general elections.

Other failed bills: Legislation allowing statewide gambling, Arizona-style immigration laws, the right to carry concealed handguns on college campuses and a sales tax break for yachts all failed.

— Compiled by reporter Nolan Hicks
AUSTIN — They got their bumper sticker message.

While public school teachers, higher education officials, physicians' organizations and advocates for the poor may deem the 82nd Texas Legislature a disaster, the state's top three leaders walk away from the just completed 170-day marathon as clear winners. They achieved a sales pitch for their next campaigns that easily can be read and understood at the average traffic stop: A balanced budget, no new taxes.

Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus no doubt will put that succinct message to use in writing the next chapter of their political careers.

For Perry, the message elevates his potential stature in the 2012 presidential race as the standard-bearer of the right wing of the Republican Party.

For Dewhurst, it will prove invaluable if he chooses, as expected, to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. And while Straus simply hopes to hang on to his current post, that message may help fend off tea party insurgents who tried to topple him at the beginning of the session.

Political analysts, however, cautioned that the conservative agenda of the legislative session also could carry limitations for all three, for different reasons.

For Perry, "if you look at what he was trying to do, which was to impress Republican primary votes, in that sense, he succeeded masterfully," said Bill Miller, an Austin lobbyist and political consultant. "He said 'keep your hands off the money,' and he was able to enforce it."

That unapologetically conservative ideology may not suit a general election electorate, however.

For that reason, Democratic campaign consultant James Aldrete said Perry tipped his hand with regard to his presidential ambitions: "It's pretty obvious he is playing for a number two spot rather than number one."

Championing right-wing causes, such as "sanctuary cities" legislation, is an appropriate job for a vice-presidential nominee, since the presidential nominee has to have wider appeal to get elected, Aldrete said.

Perry appears to have written off the Hispanic voters, Aldrete said. While Perry has triumphed before conservative groups, he was off his game in a speech to the National Association of Latino Elected-Appointed Officials convention in San Antonio as the Legislature was debating the sanctuary cities legislation, he said.

Many Hispanics oppose the measure, contending it will lead to racial profiling by law enforcement.

"Usually, if you are going to an unwelcoming group, you either give an olive branch or challenge them in some way," Aldrete said. Instead, Perry's speech, "basically ignored the elephant in the room. That was a very extended, long, awkward moment for a guy who has been getting rave reviews when he is talking to his base vote."

Dewhurst's mixed bag
Southern Methodist University political science professor Cal Jillson said Perry's electoral success so far, without significant minority support, can be attributed to the Texas Republican Party's strength.

"If he thinks about running nationally, a 2012 presidential election is going to be a three-point election," a narrower margin than Perry has experienced, Jillson said. "If you've alienated the Hispanic vote, that can be a problem."

In contrast to Perry, Dewhurst emerged from the session with a more mixed scorecard.

Many Austin insiders express doubt about Dewhurst's ability to handle tough primary opponents like Ted Cruz, former solicitor general of Texas, and Tom Leppert, the former Dallas mayor. Their skepticism springs from Dewhurst waffling on using the rainy day fund and an airport "anti-groping" bill.

Yet, by election time, voters will be more focused on results than style, experts say.

"When you step away from the palace intrigue … if you are talking about results, David has a strong record to go after the conservative community," said Ted Delisi, an Austin lobbyist and political consultant. "Every state senator and the lieutenant governor get to say, 'We passed a balanced budget with no new taxes.' Some of the process-oriented criticism tends not to have the durability throughout the summer and fall that it might have in the heat of session."

Grass-roots problems
Even a potential opponent in the race for Hutchison's seat, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, acknowledged that "when you are the leader, you get credit where credit is due. The Senate did a lot of great things."

"There's no question that Dewhurst can run on that platform," he said. He predicted that Dewhurst likely would run into problems with "grass-roots" Republican primary voters who were disappointed with his initial opposition to the airport anti-groping legislation.

While Dewhurst possesses the personal wealth to underwrite a statewide campaign, today's Internet activism could blunt that advantage, Patrick said. "He will be viewed as an establishment candidate with a fat checkbook," he said. "In these days and times, that's not a guarantee."

Disagreement on Straus
As House speaker, Straus' easiest task is winning re-election to his House seat in San Antonio. He will face a much more challenging task in holding on to the speaker's office.

The session began with a challenge from tea party conservatives who doubted Straus' commitment to the conservative cause. From Patrick's point of view, the special session ended with Straus reigniting a conservative base against him when the House failed to pass two issues important to those voters — sanctuary cities and anti-groping legislation, despite having a 101-49 Republican super-majority.

Other political observers were not so sure. Straus may have weathered the biggest storm of his political career, especially if the 2012 electorate is more moderate.

A presidential year will draw younger and more minority voters that care less about tea party issues, and more about the sharp cuts the Legislature passed, particularly in education, many analysts say. Dewhurst, Straus and the other 180 members of the Legislature could face the wrath of activist education groups upset with cuts to public school funding.

"There were some tough votes this session, some votes the educational community didn't like," Delisi said. "There may be some individual constituencies that become much more engaged and active and that could have an impact."

Those voters may respond to another popular phrase at the Legislature, less kind to its Republican leadership for relying on cuts rather than fixing the fault lines in the state's tax structure. That message fits well on a bumper sticker too: They kicked the can down the road. ... 37455.html