With all of the fanfare expected for Texas legislative representatives and senators, the 82nd biennial session came to order Tuesday at noon. The Texas Constitution requires them to meet on the second Tuesday in January in odd-numbered years for 140 business days. Members of the Texas Legislature are paid $600 a month taxable stipend for their service, and the ethics laws make gifts to them while in session almost impossible.
On the first day of the session, the halls are filled with citizens and officials from across the state who have interests of concern in the Legislature. Wise County Judge Bill McElhaney and Wise County Commissioner Kevin Burns were present, advocating for the county.
District 61 Rep. Phil King welcomed constituents into his offices, together with his competent and helpful staff. District 30 Sen. Craig Estes delayed his morning staff meeting to invite me into his office for a visit. It was a day when many citizens and political friends crossed paths in a spirit of passion and unity for the work of our great state of Texas. The comforting thing was to see the engraving in the woodwork above the Speaker’s podium, boldly proclaiming, “In God We Trust.” Continue reading →