Friday, May 6, 2011

More Stupid Bills - Texas Haz Them

Happy Friday, everyone! Since not all my readers live in the Lone Star State (big shout-outs to India, Chile, and Germany!), I thought I'd update you on what's happening in the three-ring circus freak show known as the Texas 82nd Legislative Session.  Representative democracy is a wonderful thing; I wish we had it here.

Anyway, I've previously written about SB 16/HB 325, aka The Worst Law Ever.  This piece of legislation will require women who are seeking an abortion to have a sonogram 24 hours before the procedure so they can look at the fetus and hear it described by a doctor and then go home and think about their evil sinful ways. 

Don't worry, they'll play Beethoven during the procedure
so it won't be a traumatic experience.
The stated goal of the bill's sponsor is to reduce the number of abortions. Which is great, because every mother who changes her mind as a result of being forced to undergo a pre-abortion sonogram will get free medical care for her child until it turns 18. Ha ha, no! Actually, Texas is cutting all sorts of medical and education programs, especially for poor children.  Because the state isn't dead last in those areas yet, but our Legislature is working on it.

Still, to quote Governor Dick Perry (that might be a typo in his name - I'll check it out), "Ensuring Texans have access to all the information when making such an important decision is a critical step in our efforts to protect life."  Which is why all women will have the option of a pre-abortion sonogram.  It's not as if it's mandatory. Oh wait. It is mandatory.

Really, I could go on about this bill, but my urge to kill is rising, and I've got other things to cover.  Suffice to say that this thing could actually end up on Dick's desk, and he will sign it. Because he loves the half of Texans who aren't female, non-white, or not well-off.  That might be less than half, actually.  Another reason to protect that core constituency.

Another way in which our Legislature is trying to protect unborn Texans is by making sure they have the right to shoot each other to death when they get to college. Yes, Texas, along with some other states, is trying to enact legislation that will allow students to carry concealed weapons on state university campuses.  Because any sane person will tell you that the problem with the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois massacres was the lack of crossfire from multiple weapons in the hands of unskilled snipers.

Would have made the food fight scene in Animal House way better, too.
Now, SB 354 has faced a rocky road, because it turns out most university administrations don't want their students packing heat in chem lab.  Undaunted, the bill's sponsor, Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), has simply gotten more creative in pushing his unwanted law on the liberal hippie pinkos who would stand in the way of a clean shot.  Like withdrawing his bill, then submitting it as an amendment to another bill without the consent of the latter bill's author. 

Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) had introduced a bill to address the looming shortfall in the state's education budget.  It would have reduced some university reporting requirements, and that in turn would have allowed lower tuition rates to help students who likely will be losing access to grants and scholarship. This bill probably would have passed in the State Senate.  Seeing an opportunity, Sen. Wentworth reintroduced his concealed carry bill as an amendment to Sen. Zaffirini's proposed legislation.

This is not the ludicrous bill you're looking for.
Also, Greedo shot first.
When it looked as if her bill might pass with the concealed carry amendment (which she doesn't support) attached, Sen. Zaffirini felt she had no choice but to withdraw it.  Which is a shame, because Sen. Wentworth's measure actually would have helped the budget crunch by reducing the number of students competing for funds.  All it needed was another rider to increase funding for on-campus morgues and it would have been perfect.

Anyway, the bottom line concealed weapons on campus, and no tuition relief for students.  I guess it's a draw.  Get it? Guns? Draw? Jeff Wentworth is an asshole? That's a joke, son, you missed it.

Hey, speaking of boobs and guns...

Get your mind out of the gutter, I'm talking about politics here.
 ...did you know that Texas state representatives also tried to pass a law to let them carry concealed weapons any damn place they want? 

Obviously, a concealed-carry law includes exceptions. It's beyond the pale of logic and public safety to allow even licensed vigilantes to bring guns into bars, churches, or sporting events (or schools, as the law is written for the moment).  Unless you're a state official, according to Rep. Elmer Fudd, as I affectionately refer to Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington). Then you should be able to take aim at pub patrons who have had too much to drink, congregants who are hogging the Communion wine, or shortstops who should have thrown to first instead of trying to make the play at the plate.

Kleinschmidt denies allegations that this is an elitist law designed to place elected officials above the laws they impose on others.  I believe he denied them while smoking a Cuban cigar on the private island where he was engaged in an elephant hunt, but I'm not 100% sure.

Fortunately, it doesn't appear that the right of politicians to shoot elderly nuns will prevail in Texas.  But this bill just might.  Remember how the federal government almost shut down a few weeks ago because Planned Parenthood kills babies?  Thanks to the vigilant efforts of Sen. John Kyl (R-Arizona), it turned out he was speaking out his ass.  But once again the Texas Legislature is stepping up to ensure that women are protected against the evils of quality afforable health care.

The State of Texas and Medicaid fund the Women's Health Program, which is designed to provide screenings, exams, and counseling to low-income women.  Its services are made available through a network of qualified health providers, which includes Planned Parenthood clinics.  Yep, those butchers again.  Between them and the Girl Scouts, this country is under attack by the forces of evil.

Turns out this guy was small potatoes. Although I bet he loved Tagalongs.
SB 1854, sponsored by Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), takes the bold stand that any organization that performs abortions is unworthy to take the blood pressure of Texas' underprivileged women.  Therefore, any organization that performs abortions would not be able to be part of the Women's Health Program under Sen. Deuell's proposed legislation.  And since 90% 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion services, its clinics - which are a significant part of the program's network of providers - would be required to withdraw from participation.

But wait, there's more.  Deuell, who must have watched a lot of James Bond movies in which he rooted for Blofeld, included a "posion pill" in his bill.  It says that if Planned Parenthood - sorry, "any organization" - attempts to sue the state or otherwise get itself reinstated in the program on the grounds that Deuell is a moron, the entire Women's Health Program will be discontinued

Let me say that again:  Deuell has written into his legislation that he will deny basic health services to 90,000 women if any group he doesn't like tries to argue that it should be allowed to provide those services.

John 11:35
This fine bill is headed to the floor of the Texas Senate for a vote.  (Aside: Jose Rodriguez of El Paso cast the lone dissenting committee vote, and you could reach his office at info@senatorjoserodriguez if you had a notion to.)

Well, that's all we have time for today.  Besides, that urge to kill thing is getting out of hand. If you're reading this in Texas and you disagree with any of these bills, please get in touch with your elected representatives.  Just, uh, don't do it at a bar, church, or sporting event.  Those places are full of gun-toting crazies, I've heard.

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