Should state lawmakers meet every year?
Fri, 07 Jan 2011 21:34:09 GMT —
For about a year now, we've been hearing about the State of Texas facing potential budget shortfalls which seem to grow monthly. After initial cuts called for by Governor Rick Perry, the lawmakers are going to have to contend with a budget deficit somewhere near the $20 billion mark.
While we've been profiling area legislators to get their take on the upcoming session and the biggest issues. We also asked each one if they thought that in light of a growing deficit and having to wait months for the legislature to meet to address it, if meeting every year instead of every two years might make it easier to tackle those issues instead of waiting for the next legislative session to begin.
All four answered with a resounding "No."Read more Rep. Warren Chisum on Speaker fight and issues Freshman Four Price ready to go to Austin Rep. John Smithee ready for next legislative session
District 86 Representative John Smithee said, "I don't know many of the people we represent who would say, 'The Legislature doesn't meet enough.' Most people want less government instead of more."
A sentiment echoed by the newest elected Representative District 87's Four Price.
"It's an interesting question. I believe that less government is better and a lot of folks might say 'eeting every two years is too much.' What we have is a good system. You could do it differently, but I don't think it would produce different results."
District 88 Representative Warren Chisum of Pampa, actually believes it could have negative results.
"If you look at every other state that meets every year, they end up spending more and passing more regulations. And its those states that are losing population and businesses. They (their state legislature) meet every year and pass more and more regulations.
And finally, District 31 State Senator Kel Seliger, also compared Texas to California and their current problems.
"We could meet every year, we could meet all year long. Do we not pass enough legislation? We'll file 7,000 bills this year and pass somewhere between 1,300 and 1,400. It's tricky budgeting for two years, but California budget's every year and their budget is in shambles. I think it could be argued that the California Legislature might want to meet every 25 years."
On a side note, Republicans in the state House have 101-49 edge, and its so big that Republicans can transact business even if the Democrats don't show up. The 2011 Legislature will be the most Republican in Texas history.
What are your thoughts, do you think it the legislature should meet every year, or its fine the way it is? Weigh in with our webpoll and feel free to leave your comments.