The Dallas Morning News reports that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Tea Party dominated Texas Senate are working diligently to restrict local governments from straying too far from his conservative vision – the will of the local voters be damned.
The read out: Many of the Legislature’s most conservative members don’t like what they see.
On Monday, a Senate panel heard accusations that city governments abusively have tried to squelch ballot initiatives and complaints that school districts and other local taxing entities too often aren’t candid when they ask voters to approve bond issues.
It was a preview of more fights to come in next year’s legislative session over bonded indebtedness and local control on issues that include transgender people in bathrooms, red-light cameras and fluoride in the drinking water.
Last fall, Patrick asked the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee to study whether more information about proposed local borrowing should be provided to citizens in the voting booth and whether about 300 “home rule” cities have too much leeway in flicking off unwelcome referendum petitions.
As suspected, Texas conservatives are all for smaller and more local government – except that is when they disagree with the outcome. Then big state government has to come into play to enforce Tea Party ideological purity. And next to the word “hypocrite” in the dictionary – big picture of your Lt. Gov.