May 10, 2007
Remember that spastic, bespectacled rabbit in Alice in Wonderland? The one that was always late, no matter how hard he ran? As it turns out, the character was based on a member of the Texas Legislature. There’s no time to say hello. Goodbye. It worries me a little that I enjoy this chaotic energy. It’s been extremely busy for five months, of course, but this is a whole new frenzy. There are literally hundreds of bills needing to be heard in various committees, and there are a little more than two weeks to hear them. Not only is it more hectic, but it’s a new kind of sprint. Before, most of my time went to bills I authored and studied. But those bills that are moving are pretty much all over in the House right now – somewhat, if not completely, out of my hands. I do on occasion walk over to the House floor to visit with folks about various issues. I have a lot of friends in the House, and I respect Representatives and that chamber a bunch.That said, I really don’t know how they do it. Five times as many members, twice as many bills, no legacy of amicable stuffiness . . . Every time I go over there, I feel like I’m watching Preston, Cooper, and a crowd of their buddies in my family room as they all play video games. They’re obviously having a blast. There are bodies roaming all over the place. There’s lots of noise, yelling, arguing and laughing. There are flashing lights and bell sounds. Much of the crowd is watching the action, plotting, shouting advice, and witnessing “kills” (at home, it’s bad guys with guns on the video screen; in the House, it’s bill after bill dying from procedural “points of order” hits). In both cases, I can’t keep up with what’s going on, but it’s fun to watch.Anyway, instead of exclusively shepherding my own bills, I’m now spending most of my time ferrying House bills through the Senate and studying the avalanche of paper that’s rolling through our chamber.
I do want to give you a brief update on a bill I’m very proud of that flew out of the Senate this week – Senate Bill 1687. Other folks call it my greenhouse gas measure, but I call it “No Regrets.”The bill requires state environmental regulators to look at what’s going on around the country and the world to reduce carbon dioxide emissions – focusing on strategies that save money for businesses and consumers. Then, they’d have to recommend ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in this state and report back to the Legislature by the end of next year. The theme of the bill is that no matter how you feel about climate change, it’s a no-brainer to reduce emissions when it would save everyone money. A lot of the greenhouse gas legislation that’s popped up in the legislature this year has stalled because folks won’t see eye-to-eye on the problem – my No Regrets bill just says that no matter how we feel about this stuff, we all like saving money.If that’s as obvious to you as it is to me – if, in fact, you’re feeling annoyed or even a little sorry for me that I’m sitting here bragging about such an obviously non-controversial idea – well, tell your friends how crazy someone would be to not vote for this bill.
I’ve got to get back to the six things I need to be doing right now. But herearesomelinks to recentnewsstories that you might have missed. They’re all posted on www.kirkwatson.com.And I regret to report that the Austin High School Lacrosse Team lost last weekend in the state semi-finals to the team that eventually won the championship. However, in a different game last week, an 11-year-old player named Cooper Watson scored the first goal of his young lacrosse career.We’re already booking our reservations for the 2010 playoffs.Finally, let us not forget our mothers and those who are the mothers of our children. Make their special day happy. Preston, Cooper and I are planning to load the dishwasher on Sunday night to help out Liz.