April 5, 2007
Can you hear it? Do you recognize the sound? It’s a ticking clock. When we return from Easter Break, there will be just 48 days left in the session. Time is always the biggest enemy when you’re trying to pass bills in a legislative session. And from here on, that clock may as well be Darth Vader: lethal, menacing, ruthless, and indiscriminate. You could have the best bills in the world – like I do – and time wouldn’t be on your side. So people are really pushing to get their bills out of committee, to the floor, and then to the other side of the Capitol. Step by step, and swiftly, things need to be moving. I’m happy that my agenda is, all things considered, moving at a pretty rapid clip. Here are some highlights from this week:
That’s about it for now. It’s the Easter Break, and the Legislature is out until Tuesday, so I’m going to make this Watson Wire a little shorter than normal. But I did want to include this excerpt from a Mile Marker I sent out to folks this week regarding the two-year moratorium on contracts that would privatize toll roads and our state’s transportation infrastructure:
Yesterday, the Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee voted unanimously to send S.B. 1267 – that’s right, the Moratorium Bill – to the full Senate for a vote. The compromise bill will put a two-year hold on new contracts that would privatize Texas highways, while allowing projects that certain regions have been clamoring for. I voted in favor of this bill. I hope it will reassure those with legitimate concerns about finishing much-needed projects, while providing a break in which we all can evaluate this tool, what we hope to do with it, how strong its protections are, and whether we’re 100% sure that it does more to solve our traffic problems than to simply tax us. Even more importantly, I hope it will shift the conversation away from whether we need a moratorium, and toward the genuine – but certainly more complicated – policy questions confronting Texas. . . . The issue, my friends, is not the moratorium – even after yesterday. It’s about how much we know, and need to know, about the road that our transportation planners are taking us down. It’s about building safeguards that guarantee these roads will protect the public, which will still end up investing heavily in them. It’s about evaluating the projects in our plans, and making sure we aren’t simply signing away the most profitable ones at fire-sale prices.
Thanks for your interest. I hope everyone has a great weekend that is restful and filled with family.