Session request: A civil debate
Political polarization can be hazardous to our health. State has more occupational licensing than any other, says Katy Republican.
nailed it by requiring Texas legislators to meet in regular session only in oddnumbered years (with “odd” as the operative word).
Looks like next year is an odd one, which means 140 days of makin’ bacon at the Capitol, which means about five months of philosophical fights among various interests, which means it could sound kind of like the 2012 elections that consumed many months and many hundreds of millions of dollars.
I recently heard a 10-minute version of the discussion that will pervade the session. It was a basic discussion of basic differences about what government should and shouldn’t do. It’s an important conversation. And because it’s often a contentious conversation, I appreciated the civil tone of the version I heard at a recent conference to help new Texas legislators get up to speed. (History tells us some never will.)
Rep. Myra Crownover, RDenton, ignited the discussion by saying that Texas is “by design and by desire a lowtax state” and that “it wants to be a low-service state.” An audience member asked her to define “low-service state.” Crownover, now the House GOP Caucus chair, offered a GOP boilerplate response.
“I think Texans respect taking care of themselves. They want to be independent. They don’t want to be dependent on government,” she said. “That does not mean there (are not) very core functions of government that private industry or private individuals cannot do.
“But I think Texans … have respect for the individual, respect for choices that individuals can make, and they don’t want government (as the) be-all and end-all in the lives of Texans,” she said.
Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, DAustin, delivered counterpoint
By David Barer
You have to be licensed to shampoo hair in Texas. That epitomizes the growth of government regulation that state Rep. Bill Callegari, R-Katy, aims to reduce during the upcoming legislative session. Callegari has already filed four bills, with more to come, that could cut red tape and eliminate regulations across the state.
The legislation could dismantle programs as large as Texas’ controversial STAAR test for public schools and ease restrictions on all occupational licensing in the state. Other, smaller-scope reforms would change laws requiring the use of voting machines in some small elections and regulating the reporting of small sewage spills.
“We are going to be bom- barded with countless more regulations than we have now. We need to get into a mode so we are able to minimize the effects of that,” said Callegari, chairman of the House Government Eficiency and Reform Committee.
For a state that prides itself on low regulation and job creation, Texas has more occupational licensing than most states, Callegari said. Texans must be licensed to work in a variety of jobs, including as a