May 11, 2009
Anyone who’s ever been anywhere near a session knows how frenzied these last days are.
Amid the flood of legislation going through the Legislature, we’re all still trying to pass our bills, shape larger policy initiatives so that they’re better for the state, and watch out for the bad bills and amendments that would do more harm than good to everyday Texans. It’s a uniquely crazy time.
So, in the midst of all that, here are some very brief updates about some of the stuff I’ve been working on:
– The Senate passed my bill to keep new billboards off Highway 71 – the Main Street of the Hill Country – out west of Austin.
– I’m still working on a measure that would require Texas Supreme Court justices to be far more open about one of the most important decisions they make – whether or not to hear a case. Here’s an article, and an editorial endorsing the idea.
– A couple of months back, a nominee for the Texas Workforce Commission was remarkably non-committal about an issue that’s critical to Texas workers – whether the state should reform its unemployment system and accept $555 million in federal stimulus aid for Texans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Later, I learned that this nominee was being told that one interpretation of the law – one I don’t agree with – requires him to keep quiet about the very issues he’ll have to weigh in on as a commissioner. So I filed a bill that will remove any doubt that, at the very least, it’s legal for these commissioners and nominees to express an opinion when they’re asked to do so by the Legislature. It’s amazing that such a thing is needed.
Of course, there’s a lot more. We’ll keep pushing. Like crazy.
Last week, Texas lost a great advocate when Judge Scott Ozmun lost his long, tough fight with cancer.
I met Scott way back when we were young lawyers practicing together. Like I said last week, I had the privilege of working with him as a law partner, in politics, in efforts to increase access to legal services for poor people who can’t afford a lawyer, and on the softball diamond.
Scott was dedicated to winning – and winning in the right way. He was always there for those who needed his talent, intellect, and passion.
Those who seek justice for all people lost a great friend in Scott. We’ll all miss him.