The 85th Legislative Session was different in many ways. Two things changed the narrative this session. First, Empower Texans successfully augmented the mainstream media with the conservative perspective. Social media is important and our friends at Empower Texans are mastering it. Michael Quinn Sullivan and Empower Texans covered the session well and kept viewers well informed on the progress of conservative legislation as it moved through the House and Senate. The weekly live broadcasts by Sullivan and Jim Graham of Texas Right to Life really enhanced this session and highlighted the defects in House leadership. Second, the Texas Freedom Caucus led the charge against liberal legislation and successfully thwarted Straus and his henchmen. Conservatism had a voice this session.
Houston conservatives lost this session with the passage of SB 2190 – the pension bill. Turner ran his bill through the legislature with the assistance of Lt. Dan, Senator Joan Huffman, and House members supported by the Houston Police Officer’s Union (HPOU). This bill may help HPOU in the short term, but at what cost? Our city and our firefighters were ignored this session. HPOU has 750 million dollars in bond proceeds in the bill to pay for their Deferred Retirement Option Plans (DROP). These DROP benefits often contain millions of dollars per officer in addition to their 95% retirement pay for life. Now you know why the City of Houston is 10 billion dollars in debt. There are a lot of officers wishing to retire and run out the door because they negatively view the shift in criminal justice policy (i.e., Kim Ogg as DA and Art Acevedo as Chief of Police). This November, Houstonians will vote on the bond and repeal of the property tax cap.
On a much lighter note, the Texas Freedom Caucus (TFC) kicked butt and proved much more fun to watch than the Houston Rockets. Jonathan Stickland made a name for himself this session and helped the conservative cause against Straus and his liberal policies. The caucus is composed of a group of freedom and liberty loving conservatives from around the state who waged a war with the liberal agenda (including some “Republicans”) all session. The TFC revolt was entertaining and important. This revolt led to some great floor fights between impassioned, true conservatives fighting with liberals over the policies that govern our state. I say great because the TFC push revealed the weak, false conservatives à la Straus henchmen.
The TFC revealed a number of local representatives who are weak on conservative issues. For example, a number of local representatives worked against Houston Fire on the pension bill. This list includes Jim Murphy, Dan Huberty, and other (current and/or former) clients of Allen Blakemore like Dennis Paul, John Zerwas, Kevin Roberts, and Mike Schofield. Blakemore’s tentacles are a sure sign of poison in the water. Thanks to these folks, Houstonians will need to hold on to their wallets with all their might!
I truly do not understand why Sarah Davis keeps up this charade. Davis does not have a conservative bone in her body. I bet that the Fox News Channel has been removed from all of the televisions in the Davis home. Please remember that the Harris County Republican Party, under the leadership of Paul Simpson, placed the entire countywide campaign on the shoulders of Davis. And Davis was all in with Devon Anderson (the DA who jailed a sexual assault victim). As you know, this experiment failed miserably.
Davis fought against every pro-life bill this session – and seemed to enjoy it! Simpson’s effort to keep Davis in office cost every Harris County Republican in 2016.
Briscoe Cain and Valoree Swanson were our local superstars this session. Both quickly aligned themselves with the TFC and became valued members of this merry band of rebel rousers. Throughout the session, I turned to Brsicoe to find out what was going on with particular items of interest. Valoree provided crucial support to pro-life bills and had a good session. The liberal media attacked both and now you know why – they were effective in moving conservative legislation. Importantly, both members voted against Turner’s pension bill.
Throughout the session Lt. Dan worked hard to position himself for a run against Governor Abbott. Yesterday, Governor Abbott proved that he can handle Lt. Dan when he named twenty issues for the July Special Session. Put your chin straps on because it will be a ride
Big Jolly will keep you informed throughout the summer.
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