"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Earlier today, Lt. Gov. Patrick released his first round of interim charges; if you're a conservative there's a lot on this list to like:
- Religious Liberty: Examine measures to affirm 1st Amendment religious liberty protections in Texas, along with the relationship between local ordinances and state and federal law. Make recommendations to ensure that the government does not force individuals, organizations or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
- Union Dues: Examine the practice of using public funds and employees for the payment processing of union dues. Make recommendations on whether Texas should end this practice.
- [Author's Note: If you know the history on this issue, this is a STINGING rebuke of Joe Straus and Byron Cook.]
- Eminent Domain: Gather and review data on the compensation provided to private property owners for property purchased or taken by entities with eminent domain authority. Examine the variance, if any, between the offers and the fair market values of properties taken through eminent domain. Make recommendations to ensure property owners are fairly compensated.
- [Author's Note: This is crucial if you ever want to get rid of toll-roads.]
- Ethics: Review current ethics laws governing public officials and employees and recommend changes necessary to inspire the public’s confidence in a transparent and ethically principled government. Review public officials’ reporting requirements to the Texas Ethics Commission. Examine the categorization of ethics reporting violations and make recommendations to encourage accurate reporting and timely correction to inadvertent clerical errors.
- State Water Plan: Study and make recommendations on improving the process of developing and executing the State Water Plan.
- [Author's Note: This a polite way of saying that the Senate wants to monitor closely the Water Slush Fund Straus pushed through two sessions ago.]
Read the whole thing here.
Bottom Line: Issuing interim charges over three hot button issues that Straus killed last session tells you everything you need to know about where Patrick is leading the Texas Senate.