Texas Session Roundup

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.

State legislators lobby for public health care insurance by year's end

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.

CHIP Expansion in Texas Highlights Continued State Health Coverage Advances

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. 

Their Secessionist "States Rights" versus Our Collaborative Federalism

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.