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Political Report

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The Legislative Report


The Gazette Staff

Representative Bryan Hughes offers this synopsis of recent activity in the Texas House:

Balanced budget resolution

– The House recently passed House Concurrent Resolution 18m which calls on the United States Congress to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Resolution does not call for a Constitutional Convention, which Rep. Hughes feels would be "disastrous." Private Property Rights

– The House unanimously passed SB 18, which prohibits the government from taking your land for any purpose other than a narrowly defined public use. Hughes says that, while the bill is not perfect, it does put in place stronger protections for Texans' property rights and he was glad to see it pass the House. Immigration Reform

– Hughes notes that the House State Affairs Committee worked "into the night" recently reviewing many proposals to strengthen the immigration laws. Hughes said he supports measures such as increasing law enforcement and Texas military presence along our border as well as increasing and enforcing penalties on businesses that knowingly hire illegal aliens. Budget Update

– The House and Senate are continuing to work on balancing the state's 2012-2013 budget. The Texas Constitution requires that the state spend no more than it takes it. Rep. Hughes said he favor prioritizing the spending "toward our most important programs." Defunding Planned Parenthood

– During the recent debate on the General Appropriations Act, $61 million was diverted from Planned Parenthood and was funneled to such programs as Alternatives to Abortion. House Bill 1 is on its way to the Senate. Once the Senate approves its own version of the budget, the tow chambers will negotiate a final budget in conference committee.In other news from Austin, Governor Rick Perry is apparently bullish on Austin as a growing center of technology.

Ray Sullivan, the governor's chief of staff, recently said, "Austin... has become cool. It's broken through..." People know it as a great place to visit, a quality and affordable place to live, a hip town. He added, "A lot of people – Perry included – feel like we're on the cusp of becoming the next center of technology development, innovation and production."

Sullivan concluded, "It would be wrong to say we're going to be the second Silicon Valley. The goal is to have a lot of industry that is of that type, that is innovative and growing, and creates jobs with a high standard of living and generates wealth for employees."


– There are rumors that a proposed redistricting map may be targeting U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin). However, putting more Republicans into Travis County might have the effect of weakening the GOP vote in the county's other congressional districts. State Senate Redistricting Committee Chairman Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, said he has not personally drawn a may that targets Doggett, although he said he "has seen a congressional map" that targets Doggett.Meanwhile, Republicans Charles Perry of Lubbock and Jim Landtroop of Plainsview are not happy. They believe they may be punished for not supporting Speaker Joe Straus before the current legislative session opened. They say that if the currently proposed redistricting map holds, they will be forced to run against each other as Landtroop's District 85 would be eliminated. Finally, one more rumor: Robert Paul, another son of U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, might be considering a run for Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's Senate seat in 2012, Hutchison is retiring at the end of her term that year. Paul is a Forth Worth area physician. He said he is happy as a physician, but that he has "a lot of concern about the (national) debt." His brother, Rand Paul, is the newly-elected U.S. Senator from Kentucky.