By JOHN KANELIS / email@example.com
I am not a huge fan of special legislative sessions in Texas.
We send our legislators to Austin for 140 days every other year to take care of legislative business. We don’t pay ’em very much money; I mean, they’re “citizen legislators” and we pay them a pittance to do our work.
The 2021 Legislature has a huge task ahead of it that it might be able to finish in time for the regular session to adjourn sine die.
Gov. Greg Abbott needs to ensure they finish the one major task: That would be finding money to pay for a major overhaul/reform/strengthening of our state’s electrical grid.
The grid came within about four minutes of collapsing a couple of weeks ago. It damn near failed the entire state, throwing us into prolonged darkness and cold. How did that happen? Well, the jury is still pondering that one, but one element seems clear: The state has not “winterized” its generating system to cope with the zero-degree temperature that blanketed much of the state.
Special legislative sessions too often are the product of lawmakers running out of time because they spend so much time dawdling at the beginning of these regular sessions. The 2021 Legislature doesn’t have time to waste. It has begun some key hearings peppering utility officials with questions about what went so damn wrong this past month.
Texas has a Rainy Day Fund that it can use to help pay for the cost of weatherizing its energy plants. There needs to be some serious priority-setting as well.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the electrical grid, is under intense fire from critics who wonder about some of the bone-headed decisions that reduce energy output at critical times during the deep freeze.
We have lots of energy in this state. We also have some pretty good minds in key places that can figure out what went so terribly wrong and find solutions to fix it.
If it takes a special session to finish the job, I would hope — and I expect — Gov. Abbott will be quick to summon legislators back to get it done.