Nobody Wants To Be Here

//Nobody Wants To Be Here

It’s the middle of July in Texas, and most of us would rather be playing with our families at our favorite swimming hole and focusing on the policies that will benefit all Texans. Instead we’re headed back to the Capitol this week for a special legislative session that promises to be anything but special.

Governor Abbott called lawmakers back to Austin to address a whopping 20 items that he felt were not addressed sufficiently during the regular session that ended in late May.

Our wrap up of the regular session called it one of the ugliest and least productive in recent memory. The political fighting at the Capitol has only gotten worse over the last six weeks, and the bad policy ideas that failed in the regular session are still bad ideas.

Of the 20 categories of things on legislators’ agenda for the special session, there are a few that we’ll be watching extra carefully here at CPPP:

  • Limiting the ability of local governments to raise revenue to pay police officers, firefighters and other first responders was wrong during the regular session and is wrong during a special session. If lawmakers really want to lower property taxes, then they should remodel our outdated school finance system and pay their fair share.
  • School vouchers are still not a solution for Texas kids, including children with special needs. The last thing we need to do is divert precious public resources away from public schools that serve over 5.3 million students. The House wisely rejected vouchers during the regular session. But Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s stupefying press conference last week shows that he will not work to prioritize the educational need of Texas students or the employers looking for skilled workers this legislative session.
  • Arbitrary limits on state and local investments are the wrong move for Texas communities. Despite the need to be flexible in responding to rapid population growth and shifting public priorities, some lawmakers continue to push various types of spending caps that would lock in current levels of investment and tie the hands of lawmakers.

These are just a few of the dangerous ideas CPPP will fight at the Capitol this summer. As always, data and facts will guide our policy recommendations in pursuit of a Texas where everyone can reach their full potential.

With your support, CPPP will work tirelessly with lawmakers and partners to squeeze some good things out of this special session and prevent as many bad policies as possible from passing.

Be sure to sign up for our Point of Order legislative e-newsletter and follow us on Twitter so that you can monitor all the action and stay connected.

A renowned social justice lawyer, former philanthropy executive, and frequent public speaker and writer, Ann Beeson joined the Center in 2013. She was previously the Executive Director of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations, where she promoted human rights, justice, and accountability nationwide. Beeson was the national Associate Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked from 1995-2007. She argued twice before the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated numerous cases around the country, and launched groundbreaking programs to stop the erosion of civil liberties in the name of national security and to protect free speech and privacy on the Internet. Beeson has been recognized as one of the nation’s top lawyers by American Lawyer Magazine and the National Law Journal. A proud Texan, Beeson has embraced a wide range of innovative strategies to advance social change. Before joining the Center, she launched a new non-profit to involve the creative sector in social change. In 2012-13, she was a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas, where she co-produced a public media series to inspire more people to get engaged in their communities. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, and received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Texas. Beeson obtained her law degree from Emory University School of Law, and served as law clerk to the Honorable Barefoot Sanders, then chief judge of the Northern District of Texas.

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