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Governor Abbott Should Just Admit He's Pro-Big Government

I've long suspected the Governor wasn't really a libertarian, no matter how much some in the media would like me to think otherwise. He's not even libertarian-lite, no matter how much he would like me to think otherwise. And because I've known he was an ineffectual governor (Though, that might be his one good quality), I wasn't surprised that he would call a special session. Because Perry did the same in 2013 for the same reason: Ineffectiveness.  But I wasn't half way down his wishlist before I started scoffing at what he calls "small government." On July 18, 2017, Governor Abbott wants the Texas Legislature to pass some blatantly Big Government bills, and some Big Government bills cloaked in libertarian language.

While, of course, I hope there isn't another brawl in the special session, considering it included a cowardly call to ICE on protesters, I can only hope that Abbott's weakness is still our greatest ally. Here's some of the more ridiculous agenda items:

1) He wants new legislation delaying the "sunset" of some Texas Agencies set to expire before 2019. One of these being the Texas Medical Board. Without it, “Anybody, anywhere could call themselves a doctor, and who is going to challenge that?" a former director of the Sunset Commission said. "There’d be no statute that says you have to do anything to be a doctor.” Representatives accused others of playing with the health and safety of Texans. Because those are the kinds of claims you have to make to justify a practice that has been proven unnecessary and cost prohibitive time and time again. Like always, the State is searching for an excuse, cloaked in our "safety", to keep its power. And even with that almighty "Health and Safety" excuse, they failed to pass legislation preventing the sunset of the agencies in question. If only there was something in those original bills, a "Sunset Date" if you will, they could have looked at and known to plan accordingly.

2) Abbott wants to give every teacher in Texas a $1000 raise. This one is a short one, and rolls nicely into a few of the others: There are over 300,000 teachers in Texas. To give them all that pay raise would cost more than $300,000,000. What I want to know: How does he plan to pay for that while also cutting property taxes and reforming Education finance and giving school choice to special needs students (three agenda items I support)? Last I checked, the Texas Constitution required a balanced budget. So who's going to pay for all of that?

3) He must really, really want that bill telling Trans Texans which bathroom they're allowed to use. I'll put aside for a moment how hateful, ill-informed, and terrifyingly Authoritarian the bill is (literally only one moment) and ask: Is this really an emergency? Is there some pressing need to pass this bill? Will we fall into a crisis without it? Some deadly war looming around the corner that this bill will prevent? Are large packs of wolves on the edges of our cities waiting until some specific date to attack and this bill is our last line of defense? Let me save the Governor the trouble by answering for him: No. There are zero valid reasons any bill like this needs to pass, and less than zero valid reasons it needs to be a part of the special session.

4) Apparently Abbott likes the idea of Obamacare because he wants to require women buy insurance specifically for abortion instead of having it covered by their current insurance (and here I was thinking it was a bad idea for the State to set requirements on what insurance can and cannot provide coverage for). Why even bother? All of those new and obviously prohibitive clinic regulations he wants will already have the State getting in the way of the personal choices of a person and their doctor. And all of those things together will most likely only make Texas' maternal mortality problem worse, which makes Abbott's desire to extend the task force trying to solve it pointless. 

The entire session agenda isn't bad, however. Municipal annexation reform would help Texans who specifically don't want to live in cities maintain their independence from them. Strengthening patient protections regarding Do-No-Resuscitate orders reaffirms an individuals right to die. And the three I mentioned in number two. 

But even with those ones I want, Freedom and Liberty are looking at a Net Loss if these bills pass. So I hope, that when that special session begins, for our sake, the legislature remains mostly at a stand still.

-David Rohde