Thanks for taking care of Tart's request, mac.
Here's an interesting bit: (link at end):
Does Anyone Care About Texas?
After the Texas House of Representatives succeeded in overturning redistricting due to a lack of quorum (when Democratic representatives went to Oklahoma) Governor Rick Perry called a second special session. Eleven of the twelve Democratic state senators journeyed to Albuquerque, NM to effectively break the two-thirds vote (21 of 31) required for any special mandate to pass in the state Senate. Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is now threatening to throw out the two-thirds rule.
To date, these sessions have cost the taxpayers roughly $2 million. This after record budget cuts have basically frozen hiring at all major state universities and most school districts as well, and taken away health care from thousands of children and retired persons.
By the way, redistricting is only called for once every ten years. In 2001 the Texas Supreme Court approved the current Congressional District map and decided no new redistricting plan would be needed until 2011. In a blatant display of hypocrisy, some Republican lawmakers have now taken to announcing that the Democratic Senators are taking money away from social service programs with their absence. Never mind that this is a "special session", which by the Texas Constitution can be called to address only one piece of business. This one's about redistricting.
Indeed, it seems that the GOP is grasping at straws. Perhaps they are afraid the rest of the country will become aware that Texas is not in George W. Bush's pocket. And although the state might not vote Democratic in 2004, the support for the current "president" will have grown lukewarm enough to send a message to the rest of the nation. Hence redistricting.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Thousands gathered Saturday to rally against a Republican push to redraw state congressional lines and in favor of the Democratic state senators who fled to New Mexico to scuttle the effort.
"The people of Texas said 'no' once (Republicans) started drawing the maps," said protester Ginger McGilvray. "They said 'no' with a strong voice and they didn't listen," "So here we are, standing out here ... to show that we mean it."
Despite muggy temperatures that neared 100 degrees, between 2,000 and 4,000 protesters rallied at the Capitol and cheered relatives of the 11 Democrats holed up in an Albuquerque hotel. Their absence has brought the Senate to a standstill because the 31-member chamber needs two-thirds of its members present to conduct business.
Several protesters chanted "Recall Rick," referring to Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who has called two special sessions to take up congressional redistricting. The first effort failed after House Democrats fled to Oklahoma.
They continue to ignore the people at their peril...
I was supposed to go to that, PDiddie, but the prospect of the heat, looking for parking anywhere near Waterloo Park, trudging up that hill... Well, no. Not for this old lady. Am dead relieved I didn't go looking at your post -- 2000-4000? WOW!
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Supreme Court refused Monday to order Democrats to end their Senate boycott, and the Democrats sued in federal court to block the Republican effort to redraw the state's congressional boundaries.
Democrats were pleased that the high court stayed out of the political fight.
``We believe strongly that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction with respect to Senate turf,'' said Sen. Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso.
Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, both Republicans, had asked the court to order 11 Senate Democrats back from self-imposed exile in New Mexico. The Democrats' absence has prevented the Senate from considering the GOP redistricting plan.
These stupid Republican bastards aren't going to give it up without a fight.
Five thousand people stood on the Texas Capitol steps Sunday in 100-degree heat--there less than 100 Republican supporters, by the way--in support of the Democrats, and now they do this:
Republican senators remaining in Texas voted today to fine the 11 self-exiled Democrats who are holed up in a New Mexico hotel for each day they are absent from a second special session on redistricting.
Without objection, the Republicans and one Democratic senator approved a resolution to fine the lawmakers starting at $1,000 a day, and the fine would double for each day they miss the session. The fine is not to exceed $5,000 a day.
Senators took the vote as the Democrats mark their 16th day in Albuquerque in protest over congressional redistricting.
The senators in Austin voted on the resolution after spending several hours behind closed doors in a meeting.
At a news conference in Albuquerque on Tuesday morning, Senate Democrats said they hoped their colleagues would not try to levy fines. They contend such fines are illegal because Senate rules for sanctions call for nothing more than arrest by the sergeant-at-arms. Several also said they would not pay any fines.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, called the proposed fine a poll tax.
"I won't pay it," he said.
Sens. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and John Whitmire, D-Houston, said they were frustrated that after the Democrats have spent three weeks in New Mexico, Republicans still view their absence as a publicity stunt.
"They just don't get it. ... We're here out of conviction and we're not going to yield" to a redistricting that would disenfranchise the Democrats' constituents, Whitmire said.
The Texas Constitution says lawmakers "can compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as each house may provide." Senate rules do not address levying fines on senators.
I don't know why, but I keep visualizing this scene of a bunch of kids refusing to come out of their rooms to eat the vegetables on the table no matter how many times mom says "they're good for you!"
Mom, it ain't the veggies that's the problem, it's the way you cook them!
Nyah, nyah, you got bigger fools in California than we got in Texas!
Yeah, but yours speak funny and spit more. Plus wear tighter pants and make up weirder words.
I shoulda said MORE fools.
We got the biggest fools of all.
Of course you do. You Texans are always bragging about how you grows em BIG. Not many are disputing this one.
Wonder if the State has the ability to garnish the wages of the senators who refuse to pay their fines. Now that would be a pretty mess.
Was that from Austin, PDiddie? Kinda looks familiar!
Can't you tell from the numerous pickup trucks in the background? :wink:
Gov. Rick Perry said today he will continue to call special legislative sessions on congressional redistricting until the issue is resolved and said he believes a new redistricting map will be approved this year, the Austin American-Statesman reported on its Web site today.
"If there is work to be done, I expect the Legislature to be here conducting it," Perry told the newspaper. "There is work to be done."
When asked by the Statesman if that means continuous special sessions, Perry said: "You can surmise that."
Send a message to these dumb bastards that thuggery will not be tolerated. Go here:
Save Texas Reps
From the Waco Herald-Tribune (the newspaper someone in Crawford can read to Bush):
Stop this foolish game
Were Perry not transfixed on redistricting and games of political payback, we would wager that these problems would have been identified and fixed in the regular session.
And if the Legislature truly needed a special session to address such things, these matters would have been addressed promptly in Special Session No. 1.
Every time the governor and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst say "there's important work to be done" in the special session, voters should ask, "Is this work for the majority party or for Texans?"
Perry and Dewhurst know how the work for Texans can get done. They can listen to the Waco City Council, the McLennan County Commissioners and so many Central Texans urging that they pull a divisive and disabling matter off the table. Redistricting has been done. It was done in '01.
From tomorrow's Austin American-Statesman, columnist Dave McNeely:
Ambitions are fueling this fight
Bickering has Ratliff on edge
Legislator says it will take 'generation' to heal from redistricting in-fighting
By JODI SHERIDAN
State Sen. Bill Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has just about had all he can take of his fellow Republican lawmakers on redistricting, and he isn't afraid to speak out about the harm it has caused the Texas Legislature.
"There are those who are supporting these actions that believe that everybody will all come back together and it will all be cum ba yah again," Ratliff said Wednesday. "I believe it won't be like that."
Ratliff is currently at home in Mount Pleasant, having walked out of a meeting last week of Republicans wanting to impose certain fines on the 11 Democrat senators who fled to New Mexico when they got wind Gov. Rick Perry would call a second special session.
Early Associated Press reports said Ratliff was contemplating resignation.
However, Ratliff said that inaccurate report came as an answer he gave to one of the reporter's questions. He said there were no plans to immediately resign.
"It's a month-to-month decision," said Ratliff.
Ratliff's term expires in 2006, and his intentions for another term are crystal clear.
"I made no secret that I will not seek another term," said Ratliff. "I so seriously disagree with what the Republicans in the senate are doing right now."
What the GOP is doing is not backing down from a congressional redistricting issue that was pushed by U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and is being carried out diligently by Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, both Republicans.
If Ratliff were to step down as senator before the end of his term, the governor would be required to call a special election within a certain number of days. However, there would be no primary.
Ratliff did not agree with the decision to fine the Democrats.
"I just thought that was one more escalation of the hostilities, one more nail in the coffin, one more action that wouldn't make it possible to heal the wounds," said Ratliff. "They weren't going to make them pay it anyway. I was violently opposed to it."
He also said his return to Austin depends on whether Perry calls a third special session. The current special session, called July 29, will end Aug. 26.
Ratliff also wonders how things would be different if the two-thirds rule were in place.
"All I can tell you is that when I was lieutenant governor, Tom DeLay called me and asked me if I would do away with the rule and I refused," said Ratliff. "It (the rule) forces the Texas Senate to reach across the party lines and come to compromises that are good for the state."
The two-thirds rule requires 21 of the 31 senators to support legislation before it can be brought up. It was successfully used by Democrats in the first special session to block redistricting, but Dewhurst revoked it for the second.
Ratliff said the Texas Legislature has often been looked up to for its bi-partisan relationship.
"Other states have looked at Texas with wonder that our Senate is so bi-partisan," said Ratliff. "The reason for that, in my opinion, is the two-thirds rule."
With the Democrats and Republicans trading barbs across state lines, Ratliff said all the negativity is doing the Texas Senate harm that could take years to reverse.
"I think there is every chance that it will be a generation," said Ratliff, who said the fines imposed on the exiled Democrats were the last straw.
"I don't think it will ever be the same," he said.
He said the Texas Legislature will become just one of many that is divided along party lines, like Washington, D.C.
Because of his bi-partisan nature, Ratliff has made many friends, both Democrat and Republican, who would hate to see him go.
"As the Texas State Democratic Chair, I'm proud to call him my senator," said Texarkana native Molly Beth Malcolm.
Malcolm said if Ratliff were still the lieutenant governor, there would not be the problems there are now.
"He is a man with backbone. He is a profile in courage. He represents the people who elected him," said Malcolm. "He's 100 percent Texan and has no use for the Washington political games. His voice is very much needed."
Malcolm also said the same lawmakers who are pushing for the redrawing of the congressional district lines, namely DeLay, are the ones who supported Ratliff when he was lieutenant governor.
Bowie County Republican Chair Marjorie Chandler said Ratliff has done such a stand-up job for his constituents and the state, she doesn't want to see him resign either.
"He is a gentleman. He is honest and he has made an excellent senator," said Chandler.
One of the Texas 11, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, said Ratliff knows how to prioritize Texans' needs and how to say no to powerful political players.
"Politics rank last in Bill Ratliff's world, as it should in the state's Republican leadership," said Van de Putte in a statement.