The Texas legislature ended its special session today, having passed several signature issues but whiffing on others. The budget passed, and Texas is better prepared to deal with the next hurricane or other major storm since the state’s windstorm insurance fund (called TWIA, for Texas Winstorm Insurance Agency) has been shored up. The fund had been nearly depleted after the major storms of the past few years, mostly by trial lawyers close to or inside the Texas Democratic Party, and thanks to a Democratic filibuster of a voter ID bill in the 2009 legislative session, TWIA had been left unattended to. Had Texas faced a major storm during the time TWIA was left aground, the state could well have faced bankruptcy. As for the Texas Democrats involved in depleting TWIA, their names are Steve Mostyn and Jim Dunnam. Both names have come up around here before. Texas dodged a bullet.
At any rate, TWIA is fixed but Texans’ security is not: The sanctuary cities crackdown died at the tail end of the special session when the money side of the GOP managed to overcome the grassroots. Gov Rick Perry, caught between both, saw his priority piece go down. It was one of his legislative priorities; there may be fallout over its failure. Our cities certainly won’t be improved by it.
But I choose to direct my ire at Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Austin’s top cop strongly opposed the sanctuary cities bill, and Austin is a sanctuary city. But on local TV Monday, Austin’s top cop lamented how Mexican drug cartels use Austin as an operational hub. He used the complaint to ask for more federal money. But he opposes enforcing the laws that are already on the books, laws that are highly relevant to his complaint about the drug cartels. He is right; Austin’s centrality in the state, and its position on Texas’ major north-south interstate, and the lack of serious security at the border make it a natural cartel base, and it is that. Enforcing immigration law at the border and within Texas’ cities just might help curb that, though. I’m sure I can expect a traffic ticket or two for impolitely stating the obvious, but perhaps it’s time Austin’s top cop learned to put 2 and 2 together.