Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

May 20, 2013

Senator Nichols: My five cents

AUSTIN — The Texas Legislature is a two-chamber body that can resemble a three-ring circus. In the last days of session, there is so much action in both houses it can be hard to keep up. Keeping bills alive feels like a plate-spinning act, everyone is distracted by the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and there are a few freak show bills on the side. As chaotic as the process can seem, most of it is the final product of thoughtful consideration and review over the 140 days of the session.

Five things that happened this week at your Texas Capitol are:

House says 'no' to term limits

On Wednesday the House voted against SJR 13, which would have given voters the chance to decide if they want a two consecutive term limit for the Governor and other statewide officials. You may remember me telling you that the Senate passed the measure 27-4 in March, but it failed in the House 61-80. Because SJR 13 was a proposed constitutional amendment, it would have needed to pass both chambers with a two-thirds majority to be put on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The last time a term limit proposal made it through the Senate was 1995, and it also died in the House. If this week's vote was any indication, it could be many years before Texas joins the 36 other states that have some type of term limits for statewide officeholders.

Campus carry moves forward

On Tuesday, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee passed HB 972, a bill that would legalize concealed carry on college campuses. However, schools would be able to opt out each year, after speaking with students, faculty and staff. Similar bills without the opt out provision have not gotten as far.

I expect HB 972 to be heard by the full Senate in the coming days, and will be sure to keep you updated.

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