Unexpected April demand owing to record high temperatures are to blame for yesterday's limited rolling blackouts, as state electric generators struggle to keep up with the high demand. A number of plants broke down and went off line during the heat of the day.
North Texans are asked to conserve power again today, to avoid another day of rolling blackouts, even though they're forecasting another day of record high heat, following yesterday's mercury topper of 101 degrees.
And it gets better. The National Climate Prediction Center says that Having a hundred degree day in April indicates we’ll have a toasty spring. The culprit is a warm layer of air in the upper atmosphere.
Former Newsweek Editor and current Editor-at-Large for the Washington Times Arnaud de Borchgrave offers an insightful and perceptive analysis of growing chaos in Central Asia and the middle East and issues a "global storm warning" that is must reading by liberals and conservatives alike.
Gov. Rick Perry has issued the call for the special session. The most interesting part of the call is the authorization "To consider legislation that provides for an appropriation to the Texas Education Agency." This could open up the session to a variety of education initiatives, such as teacher pay raises.
We post the full call below:
Proclamation by the Governor of the State of Texas
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME: WHEREAS, education is the foundation for the economic and cultural future of the state of Texas and the constitutional responsibility for the development of an efficient system of public education rests with the legislature; and WHEREAS, the current state of public school finance requires immediate action by the legislature to ensure the continued efficient and effective operation of Texas schools due to the Texas Supreme Court’s conclusion that the public education finance system violates article VIII, section 1-e of the Texas Constitution and the Texas Supreme Court has given the legislature until June 1, 2006 to change the public education finance system.; and WHEREAS, the people have placed the constitutional power to call and convene the legislature into special session in the hands of the Chief Executive Officer of the State; NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICK PERRY, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, by the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section 8, of the Texas Constitution, do hereby call an extraordinary session of the 79th Legislature, to be convened in the city of Austin, commencing at 2 p.m. on Monday the 17th day of April 2006, for the following purposes: To consider legislation that provides for school district property tax relief. To consider legislation that provides for modification of the franchise tax. To consider legislation that provides for modification of the motor vehicle sales and use tax. To consider legislation that provides for modification of the tax on tobacco products. To consider legislation that provides for an appropriation to the Texas Education Agency. The Secretary of State will take notice of this action and will notify the members of the Legislature of my action. IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my Office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 17th day of April, 2006.
RICK PERRY(Signature) Governor of Texas
Attested by: ROGER WILLIAMS(Signature) Secretary of State
Sen. Florence ShapiroSenate Education Committee chairman Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) filed today SB 1, an education initiative package that includes a teacher pay raise, teacher incentive package, and programs targeted toward high schools. "Our focus should always be on improvement, on taking a student further along than anyone expected he or she could go," Shapiro said. "I believe that with a narrowed focus this special session, we can hone in on these most important aspects of education reform and seize the opportunity to start fresh, with thorough preparation, hard work and lessons learned," Shapiro said.
Shapiro is scheduled to lay out the bill in the Education Committee April 18.
Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson has proposed a constitutional amendment that would require a super-majority vote of the legislature in order to increase any new business tax adopted by the Legislature this session. "The history of taxation tells us that taxes almost always go up," Anderson said. "Texas businesses are concerned that what begins as a 1% tax could easily escalate to a 2%, 3% percent or 4% tax in future years." The constitutional amendment, according to Anderson, would "insure that before a tax could be raised, a clear, compelling interest would be present," requiring two-thirds vote of the Legislature.
Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would set the minimum state funding for education at 50 percent. "By approving this constitutional amendment, the voters of Texas will be directing state legislators to fund at least half the cost of educating our children before funding anything ele," Solomons said. "I believe it is only fair to let the voters decide how their tax money is spent." The state currently pays only 34 percent of public education costs.
So Dale does see greener pastures elsewhere...Cowboys to blame? The folks at the Ticket say no. I'm thinking that Dale, the Ticket and the Cowboys (J.J.in particular) made for strange bedfellows. Dale liked doing the post-game show and I'm wondering if freedom could have been an issue for Hansen where Jerry was concerned. Dale's going across the street to I believe ESPN?? Any thoughts???
Speaker Tom Craddick has endorsed the Perry/Sharp tax reform plan and is encouraging members to vote for it. When asked how members explain the revised franchise tax back home, Craddick said, “I think the way you go home and do that is for members to say ‘we fixed the system and made the taxes broader where everybody is paying.’”The plan is being split into five bills – all referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. Craddick told reporters he hoped to have the bills ready for floor consideration Saturday or early next week.
House Bill 1 spends money from the surplus to buy down property taxes. House Bill 2 allocates future additional money from franchise taxes, motor vehicle sales and use taxes and taxes on tobacco to property tax relief. House Bill 3 is the reorganization of the franchise tax. House Bill 4 deals with motor vehicle sales and use taxes – and repeals the so-called “liar’s affidavit.” House Bill 5 increases the cigarette tax.
Craddick also said he has been meeting regularly with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. He noted that the leadership of both chambers are working on an education bill in case that is added to the call. Craddick said that under the House rules, if a bill reaches the floor that isn't on the call any member can object and kill the bill on a point of order. A bill not on the call can come out of committee but cannot reach the House floor without being subject to a point of order.
USA Today has a piece on abortion describing what would happen in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. According to USA Today, four states have passed “trigger bans” that would immediately go into effect in the event that Roe was overturned. Another six states have laws that would protect abortion rights.
After South Dakota legislators passed legislation that makes performing an abortion a felony, barring saving the life of the mother, other state legislators across the country are debating abortion restrictions that would become effective once Roe is overturned. Data from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is cited in USA Today, indicates that as many as 22 states are likely to impose new restrictions on abortion. They include Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.
While the number of states that would likely impose restrictions is higher than the number of states that would protect abortion access, the 16 states that would protect abortion access account for 48 percent of the abortions performed in the country and 35 percent of the nation’s population.