“I have a recommendation for Ms. Sylvester and her lips and my backend.”
State Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo).
The relatively moderate Seliger was responding to comments made by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s senior advisor Sherry Sylvester. Seliger, who had been the longtime chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, was upset after Patrick removed him from that committee and the Senate Finance Committee instead installing him as Chair of the Agriculture Committee. Sylvester remarked that if Seliger “believes serving as Chair of the Agriculture Committee . . . is beneath him, he should let us know and the lieutenant governor will appoint someone else.” Seliger’s remarks got him removed from that position and barred from a Republican caucus. Patrick may not be very smart, but he sure plays hardball. This is a warning to all Texas Republicans who are not willing to tow the ultra right-wing Tea Party line of Patrick and his ilk.
“We’re here to let you know that the Texas speaker’s race is over. The House is ready to go.”
Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton)
Bonnen appears primed to become the next Texas Speaker of the House. Bonnen was something of a dark horse having repeatedly denied that he was interested in the job. But support rather quickly coalesced around the feisty conservative and he claimed he had over 100 votes for Speaker – well above the 76 needed. Bonnen has been a member of the house since 1997 and is a predictable “red meat” conservative vote on restricting abortion rights, promoting guns in the public arena, imposing onerous requirements on welfare recipients, and reducing public school funding. He was also one of outgoing Speaker Joe Strauss’ lieutenants serving as Speaker Pro Tempore. Bonnen, however, does look to be something of a thorn in the side of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as he has clashed with the bombastic blowhard before. The House will look different as Democrats picked up 12 seats and now may able to form coalitions with the few remaining moderate Republicans to advance some issues or block some of the more rabidly right-wing measures Bonnen has supported in the past. Maybe Bonnen is smart enough to realize that there is a new game in Austin. Or maybe not.
State Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Frisco) filed House Bill 250 last month that would protect motorists who hit demonstrators “blocking traffic in a public right-of-way” if the river exercises “due care.” Red isn’t sure how you would determine if a driver used due care in hitting a protestor or why you would want to provide such protection to a motorist. What’s so gall-danged important that you need to drive through a throng blocking a street anyway? If it’s a life and death situation, it is also pretty unlikely to involve your average driver in their Toyota. The bill would not change any criminal laws, but would make it more difficult to hold someone civilly liable in such cases.
Predictably, Fallon caught a lot of flack for his tone deafness in this matter and was outraged that anyone would take umbrage with making it potentially less – shall we say, troublesome – to run over a demonstrator. The Dallas Morning News has more here.