My good pal Bill King has a column today that includes his wish list for the upcoming legislative session:
1. Really balance the budget this time. Let’s not pretend that we are only going to have 18 months of Medicaid expenses in a 24-month budget.
2. Simplify school finance so that the average teacher can understand it.
3. Pass the public smoking ban. It is bad enough that other patrons are subjected to secondhand smoke, but it is unforgiveable that we subject the young people who work in these establishments to this known carcinogen.
4. Grant immunity to utility companies for the recreational use of their easements. There are large swaths of land in every community in this state that could be opened up for hike and bike trials under existing high voltage power lines. But the utility companies have asked that if they allow all of us to use their land that we not sue them. Seems reasonable to me.
5. Leave immigration to the federal government. Thankfully, the efforts in the last session to enact Arizona-style immigration restrictions failed. Let’s not go down that road again.
6. Come up with a sustainable mechanism to fund highway construction. The current gas tax barely provides enough money to maintain our existing highway system. With the growth that is projected for the state, we all be sitting in a lot more traffic jams if we do not come up with a way to fund new highway construction.
7. Fund mental health. According the Texas Medical Association, Texas ranks 49th in the country in per capita expenditure on mental health. This is a case of being penny-wise and pound-foolish. The collateral consequences and costs to our communities for being miserly with mental health dollars is far-reaching. One emergency room doctor told me that about a third of all admissions for injuries are the result of mentally impaired people injuring themselves or their caregivers. In Houston, of course, we recently had a poignant reminder of the tragic consequences that can come from mental health patients being cared for under less than optimal conditions when a Houston police officer mistakenly shot and killed a mental patient he thought was wielding a weapon.
Lights Out was drafted in the first round (17th overall) by the ‘Stros in the 1998 MLB Amateur Player Draft. The 20th pick that year belonged to the Tribe. The Tribe’s 1998 pick went on to win an AL Cy Young Award in 2007. Name the pitcher?
Richmond, Texas Mayor Hilmar Moore is no longer with us. He was mayor for 63 years. I wonder how many meetings he called to order?
CC Sabathia of course was picked by the Tribe with the 20th overall pick in the 1998 MLB Amateur Player Draft.
The ‘Stros still have The Big Puma on their radar but I don’t think it will happen. He cost too much!