This session in the Texas Legislature was sort of stupid, but then again, they usually are. Although they did manage to pass a budget, their main piece of business each session, your esteemed lawmakers also spent time approving such vital pieces of legislation as the "Merry Christmas Bill" . They also spent a lot of time debating whether poor people need to be pee-tested before receiving emergency financial assistance for their children, as well as hearing hysterical, entirely fictitious testimony on how Planned Parenthood prowls the halls of state middle schools, trying to sign children up for serial abortions. Also, Bill Zedler, who's kind of a weirdo, tried very hard to license the strippers. As usual, there was a lot of arguing about guns.
But really, the session wasn't that stupid, not compared to previous years. This time around, lawmakers were mainly forced to talk about actual policy issues, things like water supply and education funding. And as we told you a few weeks back, every single anti-abortion measure failed.
But if Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and a group of his special friends have their way, the rest of this 30-day special session is going to be really, really stupid, and mostly about abortion.
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Apparently hoping that the second time might be the charm, five lawmakers have re-filed anti-abortion bills in the special session that have already failed in the regular session. That fetal pain bill banning abortions after 20 weeks? It's back in both the House and the Senate. Ditto for Dan Patrick's bill that would drastically reduce the availability of medical abortions, as well as Bob Deuell's bill to, among other things, require that all the hallways be widened in clinics that provide abortions. (Deuell, a doctor, has said many times that he thinks all abortions should be illegal, including in the debate in the regular session over this bill. But ask him about the new regulations, and he insists they'll simply make abortion clinics safer. Total coincidence that it would also shut down all but six of them.)
The special session, mind you, was called by Governor Rick Perry to talk about redistricting. But once that's done, Dewhurst told the Texas Tribune he's optimistic that the governor will turn to the "conservative principles" so dear to both of their hearts. By which he means drilling down on abortion as much as possible. (Also, some more stuff about guns.)
State. Rep Bryan Hughes has the same idea. Hughes, who anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life has designated their "pro-life whip," got 64 other House members to sign a letter, urging Governor Perry to call legislators back specifically to make some new anti-abortion laws. As they put it: "Along with the 62 legislators, Texas Right to Life considers the approximately 80,000 tiny Texans who will be aborted this year to be unfinished business."
There's no indication yet whether Perry will add the anti-abortion measures to the agenda. But if you're taking bets in your office pool, you can probably guess what's safe to put your money on.