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Posts Tagged ‘Vince Leibowitz’

After a grueling 23-hour hearing, the Senate passed SB 362, requiring that voters present a photo identification.  No big surprise there.

The AP reports,

No one was surprised that a special Senate panel, which includes all 31 senators and Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, approved the legislation along straight party lines in a 20-12 vote just before 10 a.m. It was, as one Democratic senator observed, a “foregone conclusion.”

Wednesday’s vote all but assures it will pass and be sent to the House as early as Monday.

Andy didn’t make it back to testify, he had to head off to Dallas before his turn came up.  Lots of people didn’t make it to testify… though as many as 150 folks signed up, only around 25 made it through the night to actually speak.

I’m not sure on the official numbers of how many people dropped cards for or against the bill, but I heard through the grapevine that more people commented against it than for.  Thanks to everyone who made it out — get ready to do it all over again in the House!

Reports Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex,

The bill is all but assured a similar party-line vote when it comes up before the full Senate as early as Monday for final passage. The bill will then go to the Texas House, where it will likely be assigned to the House Elections Committee.

Sorry my fellow Good Government watchdogs… our work is never done.  And even then, who will watch the watchmen?

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radiationsignI have been remiss in my duties as Blog Lady because I haven’t told you anything about the slated Andrews County nuclear waste dump.  Oh, you hadn’t heard?  TCEQ approved a “low-level” radioactive dump out in the lower panhandle.  There wasn’t a contested case hearing — and citizens of Eunice, New Mexico, the closest town to the dump, haven’t been able to officially voice their opposition because they don’t have standing under state law.  The dump is also only licensed for 15 years, after which all that toxic waste will be the responsibility of the state.  Aaaaand the dump will be accepting waste, not just from Texas, but from all over the United States.

Check out the press release below for more information.  If you happen to live near Odessa, be sure to swing by Big Daddy’s Grill and Bar at 6 PM –  D’Arrigo will be speaking there this evening.  She will be joined by Dr. Terry Burns, with the Permian Basin Sierra Club, who will discuss health concerns, Rose Gardner – a concerned citizen from Eunice, New Mexico, the city nearest the radioactive waste dump, and SEED Coalition Director, Karen Hadden.

For a truly beautiful article on this issue, be sure to read Forrest Wilder’s Waste Texas: Why Andrews County is so eager to get dumped on in the newest Texas Observer.  That boy can really write.

Vince Leibowitz over at Capitol Annex also has a really good post on the legislative history of the dump.

Radioactive Risks for West Texas

Odessa, Texas – Texas environmental organizations hosted speaker Diane D’Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director for the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) at a press conference today. She discussed the risks posed to Texans living near the so-called “low-level” radioactive waste dump in Andrews County.

“Low-level radioactive waste could remain dangerous for hundreds of thousands to over a million years,” said D’Arrigo. “Texas’ waste dump in Andrews County calls for a private company to manage a low-level dump, but the company would only be licensed to operate it for 15 years. They could then renew their license or decide to close the dump and walk away, leaving a toxic mess to the state of Texas. This could also happen if the company just folds up and vanishes into the night.” (more…)

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And its off to the races!  The state legislative session has officially begun.  House representatives and state senators were officially sworn into office in formal ceremonies Tuesday.  The biggest news, of course, was the unanimous election of Joe Straus as Speaker of the House.joeanddaughters

Highlights from the House ceremonies:

  • Hope Andrade, Secretary of State, got choked up as she announced and congratulated Straus’s election.  I actually saw her wipe away a tear.  I like a little emotion from my politicians, and this just shows how high hopes run at the dome for a bipartisan, productive session.
  • Environmental folks got a hat tip from Speaker Straus during remarks.  As he listed the work to be done and Texas’ greatest challenges this session, Straus mentioned that “We must be better stewards of our natural resources and protect our environment.” Not too shabby, we’ll certainly take what we can get.

To read more exhaustive, who-said-what-congratulatory-comment type reporting on the Speaker’s election, check out Capitol Annex – Vince Leibowitz did an excellent job of covering the  event, and even “live-Twittered” the whole thing.  Check it out.

Also, try Greg Harmon’s post to the SA Current blog on how Energy efficiency could get greased with Speaker Straus.

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