A Week of Legislative Musings…

The recurring efforts by Tim Dunn to recruit Rep. Smithee to run for Speaker suffered a severe setback today when the House spurned his Dunn-backed and promoted a floor amendment to scale back the franchise tax rate reduction in the bill by Chairman Bonnen. Dunn crony legislators Stickland, Rinaldi and 6 others joined with 8 far left Democrat members to increase the margins tax rate in the bill by 20%. But the House, after just minutes of debate on the Smithee amendment, slammed the door shut on his challenge to the Speaker and his team by a whopping 120-16 margin.

Dunn and his operatives have tried to recruit Smithee for several years to run for Speaker against Straus according to reports from inside the Dunn-owned member offices. This last election cycle found Rep. Smithee traveling the state to do fundraisers for many of the Dunn backed candidates. Their plan reportedly was for Rep. Scott Turner to make a hard run at it for a time, then hand the race over to Rep. Smithee. However, it was reported that Smithee could see the challenge was going to be unsuccessful and chose to stay behind the scenes in the challenge and retain his chairmanship. But continuous pressure on Smithee from Dunn and his lobbyists convinced him to make a run at the floor amendment as a test vote for his potential run for Speaker against Straus in 2017.

Setting aside the Democrat votes on the amendment, which were most likely just protest votes for some perceived wrong, Smithee garnered just 7 votes other than his for this test run against Straus. The vote on the tax bill was a clear indication that should shut down any future designs Dunn may have on fielding Smithee, or any other member, as a challenger to the Speaker in 2017.

The attacks by the Lt. Gov. on Gov. Abbott continue unabated. The “grassroots” advisory group that the Lt. Gov. made even remotely relevant by giving them titles and letterhead has already attacked Abbott on several matters. Most recent was calling his Pre-K plan “godless” and “socialistic”. Additional members of these nut groups that are part of Patrick’s designated “advisory group” have now joined in the attacks. Calling Abbott a “disaster” as governor and charging that the governor is only supporting the bill because of his wife, these operatives of Patrick are ramping up their support of Patrick for his gubernatorial run against Abbott in 2018.

Abbott is having a much more successful session, by far, than Patrick is. Thus the attacks by the various Patrick operatives… The “advisory group”, along with Dunn cronies, have shown no qualms about leveling false and shrill attacks on Abbott in an attempt to make Patrick look more successful. This will fail and the few people that pay attention to these advisory groups will probably still end up voting for Abbott. Has anybody else notice that Patrick didn’t have even one minor life bill as one of his “priority” bills? For a guy that claims that God and Jesus visit with him about state issues, it’s surprising that he ignored all the pro-life measures. Jim Graham raised this very issue in our weekly call last week hosted by Mike Sullivan.

Despite the shortcomings in the operation of the senate, the senators themselves are being assertive and ensuring that the conservative business of the state doesn’t get sidetracked by the rookie mistakes of the new Lt. Gov. Kudos to Senator Hancock and Senator Eltife for keeping the senate on track this session.

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