The Texas legislature only meets once every two years, and this year
there was enough drama, both real and fabricated, to last until they
reconvene in 2011. The biggest story by the end of the session was the
minority parties ability to kill voter ID legislation in the House by
"chubbing" or running out the clock by meticulously debating
non-controversial legislation. The need to prevent the
disenfranchising ID bill has the unfortunate consequence of killing
much good legislation. And the primary reason there was good
legislation to pass in the House was the big intrigue from the
beginning of the session - the election of a compromise speaker with
minority party support, replacing long-time speaker and conservative
stalwart Tom Craddick.
WASHINGTON — State legislators urged Congress and the White House
on Wednesday to enact comprehensive health care legislation that
includes a public health insurance component by year's end.
Members of the Progressive States Network, a state government
coalition, met with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to lobby for a public insurance
option. They said that would answer Americans' call to provide health
care coverage for all.
Texas has both the highest rate and the greatest number of uninsured children of any state. 21.8% of all kids in the state, representing over 1.5 million children, lack health coverage. This is more more than the entire populations
of 14 different US States. Addressing this problem, Texas lawmakers
are poised to take a large and bi-partisan bite out of the number of
uninsured children. HB 2962, sponsored by Rep. Garnet Coleman, will expand the state's CHIP program to an additional 80,000 children.
There have recently been a wave of rightwing resolutions asserting "state sovereignty," with Governor Rick Perry even evoking Civil War-era rhetoric about Texas having the right to secede from the United States.