Monday, January 15, 2007


It takes a while for certain new phrases to catch on.
Back in the early days, "Ways and Means" was a sorta useless conglomeration of words that didn't really have much of a meaning. And that's still true. But making up new terms like that takes guts, and by golly, our Lieutenant Governor has proved that he has guts.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's with great pleasure that I introduce to you our newest Senate Standing Subcommittee: Flooding and Evacuations.
Yeah, really.
If you are anything like Billy Clyde, your first thought is about the meeting you have back home with your Main Man. He's the guy who's the president of the First National Bank and a Deacon in the Presbyterian Church and heads the Boy Scouts and the Farm Bureau and is half-owner (with his retarded brother-in-law) of the local newspaper. You know the guy.
Anyway, you are Mister Senator and you drive home and the Main Man is at your house having coffee with your wife. Both are kinda sweaty and glowing and trying to catch their breath, but that is lost on Mister Senator cuz his mind is on Serious Senate Stuff (SSS). So the Main Man sez: What did my million dollars worth of fundraising get you? And Mister Senator has to look at his shoes and say, "Flooding and Evacuations."
There's probably not enough work to justify a Senate Committee on Flooding. Or a Senate Committee on Evacuations. But put them together, and, my friends, you gotta party.
Mario Gallegos is the chairman. But he's staying in Houston this session. The other two members are Robert Nichols (I swear he's a real senator; he's the bald bearded guy who used to work for Ric Williamson over at TXDOT; he was Todd Staples' Main Man, if that helps) and Dan Patrick, the new guy who thinks he can beat Don Evans and Roger Williams and Kay Bailey Hutchison and David Dewhurst and be Governor. You know him; he's on the radio.
Anyway, let's say you get hired by the Texas Association For Quality in Deluge and Irrigation Retention Technology (DIRT) to work on their important stormwater legislation. Karina refers the main urban street sewage bill, SB 683, to the Committee on Flooding and Evacuations, natch.
Now you have to build a bridge of consensus between Dan Patrick and Robert Nichols. And those guys don't get along. Dan thinks Robert is a liberal career politician (mayor of Jacksonville) who is up here to feather his own nest just the way all free-spending out-of-touch politicos do. Robert, on the other hand, has yet to meet Dan.
Now the unseasoned rookie would try to bring these two men together, forge a coalition, and move the street gutter agenda on down the road. But you don't do this. Instead, you get Karina to remove the bill from Flooding and Evacuations and sent to the real committee, which hears and reports the measure and recommends it for placement on the Local and Uncontested Calendar.
And all is well.
The good news: you gotcha a Senate Bill in a House committee early in the session. The bad news: that Senate bill got referred to Anna Mowery's committee, which is a fine committee, except that Anna has never figured out the nuances of being a Chairperson. Stuff like "posting" confuses her.
There's no end to this story. Or beginning or middle. BC just couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk about the Senate Standing Subcommittee on Flooding and Evacuations.
Before the next session, I'm gonna suggest to the Lieutenant Governor that the Senate needs a Senate Standing Committee on Refunds and Return Policies. If he names THAT one, he has my money and vote.


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