THE WORST: Senator John Carona

In the first weeks of the session, John Carona played a cameo role  in the Senate’s familiar opening rituals: an invocation, half a dozen ceremonial resolutions, and a motion to excuse him on “important business.” The problem was that, after his long absence, he eventually came back. And although Carona has served in the Lege since 1990—and earned a spot on the Best list twice—it was as if he had totally forgotten how the Senate works. 

Conflicts and Interests

The Brookfield subdivision in Pflugerville, north of Austin, lies two miles from Interstate 35 in a bland patch of suburban sprawl, the kind that sprouts like clover on the edge of cities. Cookie-cutter homes line winding streets with tea-themed names like Earl Grey Lane and Darjeeling Drive. Two playgrounds, erected in the middle of circular intersections, fill with children when school lets out. In the summer a fenced-in swimming pool—for Brookfield residents only—provides a break from the punishing Texas heat.

John Carona’s “Ugly Baby”

After a spirited debate and a flurry of amendments, the version of Sen. John Carona’s payday lending bill that passed out of the Senate Monday night was so altered that he referred to the final product as an “ugly baby.” Senators stuck on eight amendments to SB 1247—in addition to the six originally agreed upon by Carona, a Republican from Dallas—to toughen the legislation, ultimately voting 24-6 to pass the measure. 

A Senatorial Spat

State senator Dan Patrick channeled his very best middle school girl over the weekend, emailing all thirty of his colleagues in the Senate to accuse state senator John Carona of spreading malicious rumors about the Patrick marriage.

Does Dewhurst have a future as lieutenant governor?

Senate Republicans continue to have conversations about what to do in the event that (a) Dewhurst resigns his office to run for the Senate, or (b) opts to run for lieutenant governor again. The GOP caucus has three factions. The lines are not set in stone, and, depending on the situation, members can move from one faction to the other and back again. First you have the radical right: Williams, Fraser, Patrick, Estes.

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