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. 

Trials and Errors

It's hard to imagine a more terrifying experience than being wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder. You’re innocent, you don’t know anything about the crime. Yet the police somehow become convinced that you’re guilty, and a prosecutor makes a persuasive case to the jury. Next thing you know you’re a convicted killer, and the burden is on you to prove that you’re innocent. And if you’re really unlucky, the clock is ticking down to your execution date.

Who holds the cards?

The answer is: Rodney Ellis. On the last day of the session, Ellis has become the key player, because he is effectively the minority leader of the Democrats--not just the Senate Democrats, but also the House Democrats. The nineteen Senate Republicans will need at least six Democratic votes to suspend the rules so that the Senate can vote on SB 1811, the school finance/fiscal matters bill, and unless something changes, they have one (maybe Hinojosa).

Another confirmation in question

Bryan W. Shaw's confirmation as a member of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has run into trouble in the Texas Senate. At a press conference this morning, Sens. Eliot Shapleigh, Wendy Davis and Rodney Ellis called for a "top to bottom" review of the agency -- in the manner of the DeLoitte Touche analysis of management at the TexasDepartment of Transportation.

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