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Texas Monthly: Burkablog

Patrick's Committee Assignments

Dan Patrick’s committee assignments, announced Friday afternoon, strike me as fairly sound.

     


A New Day, Day 2

Like Burka, I’ve been a fan of the Texas Senate’s two thirds rule, and I was sorry to see it go yesterday. I’m not in total despair, however, because: 1) I don’t think the change itself, from 2/3rds to 3/5ths, is going to be that consequential, 2) it’s not even clear who stands to lose from the change. 

     


The End of the Two-Thirds Rule

The death of the two-thirds rule was inevitable from the moment that Dan Patrick defeated David Dewhurst in the primary. Patrick has always opposed the rule, even before he became a senator. The Democrats’ reduced strength in the Senate made it all but impossible for the remaining members of their party to muster the ability to fend off the majority (one Democrat, Eddie Lucio Jr., joined the Republicans in the vote).

     


What If They Held an Inauguration (And Nobody Came)?

That is how I felt about the inauguration of Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. The crowds were modest, at best, on the south lawn of the Capitol for the actual swearing-in. During the parade down Congress Avenue that followed, I saw mostly empty sidewalks with only a few onlookers. Perhaps they were all at Zilker Park enjoying the afternoon instead? Or perhaps I should not have been surprised. After all, nobody voted in the election, so why should anyone expect people to attend the parade?

     


The New Regime

As of today, Texas has a new governor and lieutenant governor for the first time this century in Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick respectively. Thus far, Abbott’s administration can be described as efficient and punctual: the inauguration ceremony proceeded smoothly and took just an hour, despite two longish speeches from both men. 

No one who followed the campaign trail would have been surprised by either. Patrick’s, which came first, felt like a sermon, perhaps because he began with a profession of faith. (Actually, technically speaking, he began with a selfie, but then moved on to church business.) “I respect all faiths and religions, but I am a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third,” said Patrick; that was a variation on a line he often used on the campaign trail, and he proceeded in campaign mode. There was no acknowledgement of his predecessors; instead, Patrick said, exhorting the audience to a little call-and-response, it was “a new day” in Texas. His goal, as he put it, is to be “the best lieutenant governor in the history of Texas,” and re-upped his campaign pledges to secure the border, lower property and business taxes, and advance educational reforms such as school choice, among other things.

     


 


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