Yay! It's A Blog! 2006-2010 - Bill Watch Archives

Recent entries from the Bill Watch Category

The Texas Legislature might kill NaSoAlMo

November 10, 2008

The Texas Legislature started filing bills today. Hundreds of them! I forgot how much fun it is to look at the bills they're filing. I spent the last hour looking at the list instead of writing and recording an album. Some notables:

  • SB204 Trans Fat Prohibited - Part of the bill says: "A food service establishment may not package, store, or use a trans fat to prepare or serve food, except for a trans fat used to deep-fry yeast dough or cake batter." I think that means you can still have good donuts. Starbucks quit selling things made with trans-fat a while back, and I thought it was going to be a good thing, but now I don't care all that much for any of their pastries. They lost their zing!
  • SB138 Election Days as state holiday - More holidays. Yay!
  • HB81 Can't use public funds to print public documents in languages other than English - I don't know what's behind this one, but I suspect it will get the hispanic population up in arms.
  • HB90 Prohibiting the sale of novelty lighters - Kinda like when they prohibited cartoon characters selling cigarettes. They don't want lighters that kids will think are cool.
  • HB135 Elimination of straight-party voting - I like the idea of not encouraging voting for a party. Vote for the person, not the party.
  • SB28 Zombies and Botnets - Awesome... this prohibits the use of zombie computers and botnets to do bad stuff. I love a law with the word "zombies" in it! See for yourself.
  • SB131 Hybrid Motor Vehicles in the HOV lane - This would give people who drive hybrid vehicles the right to drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane (as long as it wouldn't cost us federal dollars).
  • HB76 Electronic Pay Cards - If I read this right, state employees who don't want direct deposit would start getting a payment card (kinda like a debit card, I guess) instead of a paycheck. I get direct deposit, so it won't affect me.

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Marriage isn't the building block. People are.

July 2, 2008

  • This 2-year divorce waiting period bill comes from the same man who started the bullshit to prevent two people of the same sex who love each other from getting married. He wants to make sure people who don't love each other find it difficult to get a divorce. My hero, state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston says, "I don't think it's the government's job to force people to stay unhappily married," Thank you, Rep. Farrar. It should be as simple as that, but it probably won't be.
  • Tony Perkins said something on The Colbert Report about �Marriage is the building block for society.� So... all of us single people don't contribute to society? And don't tell me that you have to be married to have children to perpetuate society. I already know what it takes to have children, and marriage is NOT a requirement.
  • On another note, today is the 1st anniversary of the day I bought my house. So far, both garage door openers broke (still unfixed), the bathroom sink plumbing leaked into the music room (clean water, thank you), the air conditioner broke and one side of the fence fell down. Joys of home ownership. I love my house, though.

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Don't Be A Stupid Driver and More Bills from the TX Legislature

January 20, 2007

Don't be a Stupid Driver
If this bill passes, and you commit a traffic offense while doing one of a whole slew of activities, your fine may be doubled. Activities include reading, writing, performing personal grooming, consuming food or beverage, interacting with a pet or passenger, using a communications device (PHONE!) or another activity that inhibits safety. Consuming food is what would probably get me in trouble. Or messing with my iPod.
State Agencies Must Post Expenditures on the Internets
When my new boss took office, she posted our agency's expenditures online. If this bill passes, all agencies will have to do it. Hello Open Government.
No Photos in Bathrooms and Dressing Rooms
This bill would make it an offense to take a picture of an identifiable person at a place the person would expect privacy. I guess it's okay to take a picture if you can't identify the person.
Copycat, Copycat, You're Delicious...
...and if all my wishes come true, you won't be able to advertise like you used to. This bill targets misleading advertising of copycat musical groups. It's okay if they make it clear it's a "tribute" or "salute" to the band. Even Mary Wilson of the Supremes wants the madness to stop.
Bad Driving Hotline
If this passes, you'll be able to call the Texas Department of Transportation to report bad drivers and people suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Then the department will notify police "as soon as practicable." I'm not sure what good this will do.
Minimum Yellow Light Intervals for Monitored Intersections
Austin is about to start nailing people for running red lights by taking their picture when they go through the intersection. This bill would require strict standards on the length of the yellow light.

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The 80th Texas Legislative Session had begun

January 10, 2007

There was a glimmer of hope yesterday that we'd have a new Speaker of the House in Texas, but I guess the pressure was too great and we're stuck with Craddick for another session. The Pink Lady was a hoot live blogging from the Capitol.

My bill watch continues with a report of the following bills filed:

Why Do Prisoners Have Cell Phones Anyway?
This law would allow the inspector general to monitor prisoners' cell phone conversations.
Oh C'mon... that wasn't REALLY Bill Clinton
During midterm elections, I had quite a few answering machine messages from politicians begging for votes or supporting other candidates. This law would apply the Texas No-Call list to those kinds of calls, too.
I demand a paper recount!
This law would require that voters be allowed to inspect and verify a paper record of their vote when using a voting machine. The paper records would be kept and could be used in a recount or manual audit.
Friona is the Cheeseburger Capital of Texas?
I've never heard of Friona, but that yucky Warren Chisum wants to make it the Cheeseburger Capital of Texas. He's probably just mad because Betty Brown called dibs on making Athens, TX the Original Home of the Hamburger.
Driving Tests for the Elderly
This law would require anyone 90 years or older to renew their driver license in person every two years and prove they can still drive well.

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Bill Watch: Hurricanes and Merchant Marines

November 28, 2006

Multiple Birth Siblings in Public Schools
Parents may request their twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc. be placed in the same or different classrooms. If, after the first grading period, the principal and teacher determine the placement is disruptive, they can jump through some hoops to educate the parent about better classroom placement and help them make the decision. I wonder what incident(s) prompted this bill. Twins out of control!!!
Exempting Sales Tax on Hurricane Supplies
Hurricane preparation items sold in first and second tier coastal counties would be sales tax free between May 21 and June 1. See the bill text for what's considered a hurricane preparation item. Then hold off on that cell phone battery purchase until you visit Galveston at the end of May 2008 (if this passes).
Get Permission Before You Use That Armed Forces Action Shot in Your Advertisement
You'll need to get permission from the subject before you use a picture of a member (or former member) of the armed forces in a commercial advertisement.
Merchant Marines Deserve Love, Too
This is a concurrent resolution that would urge the United States Government to better recognize the contributions of the Merchant Marines of World War II. I didn't know anything about the Merchant Marines until I read this. This subject deserves googling. Yes... I'm using it as a VERB or whatever the word "googling" is in that sentence.

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The Texas Legislature Stirs

November 18, 2006

The Texas Legislature is gearing up. They've already started pre-filing bills. Some I'm watching:

Don't Throw Your Dang Lit Cigarettes Out The Window
It'll be a Class A misdemeanor if this passes. Good.
Let's Build a Complicated Redistricting Committee
I don't have an opinion on this one yet. Should make for some interesting discussions in committee, though.
Make Election Days State Holidays
No one would really get the day off except State workers (like me). I hope it passes anyway... Tuesdays are great days for sleeping in. happy
Make Athens, TX the Original Home of the Hamburger
This one is a fun read.
Expand Sales Tax Free Weekend to Two Weeks
The first weekend of August is "Sales Tax Free Weekend" where shoes and clothing under $100 are sales tax free. This bill would increase the period to two weeks. It'll be fun to see the fiscal note on this one that shows how much sales tax revenue the state will lose. Not that I'm against the bill or anything.

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