by Chuck Hempstead, TACT Legislative Director
Never have I written one of these articles with such a feeling of shooting at a moving target. The Second Called Special Session is in (not) full swing, directly on the heels of the First, which accomplished absolutely nothing, due to a lack of quorum.
This time, the Governor has added some sweeteners among his 17 items to entice the Prodigal Democrats to return from their exile in D.C. Things like:
a 13th check to TRS retirees (Oh, NOW we have extra money?)
to reinstate the section of the state budget vetoed by the Governor, which funds the Legislative Branch (and their staffers) beginning September 1. And
divvying up federal COVID money not previously authorized.
Did I mention redistricting, so the Republicans can be reassured of reelection for the next 40 years?
Being a legislator can’t be as much fun as it used to be, and now their $600 per month salaries are at risk. Look for wholesale retirements. No wonder a couple of the Democrats avoiding the Capitol hightailed it for Portugal.
The kicker, of course, is that this is all happening while COVID-19 is again exploding and students are returning to schools amid a prohibition on mask mandates, no vaccine for kids and apparently most adults who are going to get voluntary vaccines have done so. We didn’t reach the herd immunity as the variants remain one step ahead of us.
And the obligatory paragraph on college football? Athletes get an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 and the stars can now be paid to advertise. Will those contribute to graduate school enrollment increases? We’re seeing the athletic conference applecart turnover, but apparently the stadiums will be filled even as the hospital ICUs already are. Better order more aircraft as student athletes become bicoastal.