Bits and Pieces

—Lt. Gov. Patrick does the state a great service by passing the bill by Senator Hall to stop the practice by cities of improperly using red light cameras to trap drivers.

—on other Senate news, Patrick appoints a formidable conference committee for budget negotiations, ensuring that citizens will get a budget that comes in under the spending cap and funds only the necessary functions of government. It will be interesting to see whether Senator Kolkhorst uses her position to enhance the no bid fuel contracts she has at various state institutions, or whether she steers clear of the conflict.

—as of today, Rep. Stickland, besides continuing to reinforce his position as the least effective floor debater ever in the history of the state, is increasing the daily cost to the Texas taxpayers at a rate of close to $6200 per day of session. His inane requests to place matters in the journal which are already of record, and insist on record votes on each and every action of the House, solely at the behest of employer Tim Dunn and his cronies, should be noted by his voters. At the rate he is going, he will have singlehandedly added close to $500,000 to the cost of operating the House. Fiscal conservative? Nope.

—the media hoopla over the supposed meltdown between the Big 3 this week is much ado about nothing, suitable only for session gossip fodder. This is the time of session when calendars get crowded, tempers get short, and disagreements that have been simmering for months come to light. The private exchange of the people involved should have been just that: private. These gentlemen have much to do and little time to do it, and members, at least the ones on our hall, are feeling good about the conservative accomplishments completed and those yet to be done.

—reports of sightings of Regent Wallace Hall and Dunn lobbyist Mike Sullivan prowling the halls of the Capitol and the Attorney General’s building this week were highest on Monday and Tuesday. No report on the topics being promoted by these Dunn dark money beneficiaries.

—speaking of dark money, Dunn has never reported one contribution as the result of his “1836” fundraising campaign. This week the tactics shifted from using Texas heroes to line their pockets, to straight up begging for $250,000 to line their pockets. While this 250k just about covers the cost to Dunn of keeping Sullivan around, it’s not known whether this newest effort is a result of the drop in oil prices, or fall off in dark money contributions that are compelling Dunn to ask for this money.

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