While we are breathlessly awaiting word from the HB 300 TxDOT Sunset conference committee, let's use this time to consider some instructive insights from Martha Estes about another bill that we had high hopes for this session--SB 18, more protection from eminent domain.
See the most recent ACRE post on this issue:
For other ACRE eminent domain posts, click on the "eminent domain" tag at the bottom of that post.
Re SB 18, Martha laments:
"IT IS DEAD: About the EMINENT DOMAIN bill & SB 18 by Estes.. IT IS DEAD
". . . the Eminent Domain BILL was used as a 'bargaining position' to exact support for other bills. SO... holding it up in the Senate State Affairs Cmte. & Senate was necessary to maintain the upper hand in the backroom deals.
"RULE: What you FIRST see is OFTEN NOT what you get.. it is likely disguised or likely to undergo transformational surgery through amendments or committee substitutes & often BOTH.
"STRATEGY: Sending bills through CERTAIN committees guarantees their outcome & controls their "speed". Obvious Example: Rep. Mike Krusee as Chair of the Transportation Cmte. until this session.
"TEASER: The Eminent Domain bill was hyped statewide MORE than any OTHER transportation related bill (to 'please or appease the masses') with the Local Option having a big, COSTLY public relations roll-out (HillCo lobby firm) at first & then growing quiet (but working feverishly behind the scenes) when there was some loud opposition.. as WE well know.
"KEYHOLE MOMENT on a resolution of interest to the masses: The revelations in the Dallas paper related to the VETO OVERRIDE resolution HJR 29 is a good example of what you DON'T ordinarily SEE behind the scenes."
[See the end of ACRE post
which discusses HJR 29 and Wentworth's unusual candor.]
Martha concludes, "Senator WENTWORTH's candor WILL cost him dearly in his next Republican primary. I'll take any bets on it.. and I am NOT a gambler."