Gov. Rick Perry has done the expected thing and called a third special session of the Texas Legislature.
Lawmakers cannot seem to find a solution to funding the state’s crumbling road-bridge-and-highway infrastructure, so the governor kept them in session until they get the job done.
But wait. A conservative Republican lawmaker, state Sen. Brian Birdwell of Granbury, wants the Legislature to approve legislation to allow people to carry concealed handguns on college campuses.
This is another case of ideologues clogging up the legislative agenda with non-essential items. They fulfill some ideological need, but in the real world of real Texans, items such as this should fall far down on the pecking order of necessary legislation.
The infrastructure package got stalled in the first two special sessions. In the first one, everything came to a halt as the Legislature argued over whether to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. In the second session, the Republicans who run both legislative chambers couldn’t come up with a funding formula to pay for road, bridge and highway improvements. So here we are, back for a third time with Perry putting just the highway funding item on the agenda.
That should be enough to occupy our citizen-lawmakers’ time, yes? Apparently not, according to Birdwell, who wants to swallow up more time arguing the merits of concealed handgun carry at, say, West Texas A&M University and Amarillo College.
The men and women who serve in the Legislature are part-timers. They need to get back to their day jobs. I fear a fourth special session if they don’t take care of our highways.