Texas Politics: a toll road going nowhere

Texas Constitution, Lawmakers and Why They Don’t Work

It’s a vicious cycle.

The Texas Constitution was written and approved in 1876. A lot of people say it isn’t working well. Lawmakers spend a lot of time working around the provisions of the constitution so they can approve various bills, mostly for their special interests. The point is that if they are spending so much time successfully figuring ways to get around the provisions of our state constitution, it can’t be working well for the people of Texas. An interesting fact is that the Texas Constitution has had more amendments added to it that has the U.S. Constitution.

A lot of people also say that our lawmakers are not working well either. If they spend so much of their time working around the provisions of the state constitution, how can they work in the best interests of the Texas community? Lawmakers are fond of saying that they propose bills to fix things only if they are pressed to do so by voters. Some of the urgent issues needing resolution have remained for the past decade: sky-high property taxes, financing public education, high costs of health care, special interest driven toll roads, the highest premiums for home insurance in the nation, etc.

Here’s the fallacy. The public should NOT have to demand fixes for urgent issues. That should be the priority of the Texas legislature.

In addition, every 2 years or so lawmakers drum-up amendments to the Texas Constitution whether or not they are really needed. Usually the proposed amendments get approved anyway. Most of these approved amendments are for special interests who have paid various lawmakers to get them approved.

So, what about the average residents who can’t pay lawmakers to work for them. Why should they have to? Isn’t the reason lawmakers are elected is so they protect the public’s best interest?

So, what happened? How did the system get so out-of-control?

Money, greed. power and corruption. That’s how.

In my humble opinion, the only way to fix such an ailing system is to provide lawmakers with a decent salary AND prohibit private campaign contributions, perks and gifts. Perhaps only then will lawmakers do the jobs they were hired to do by the people of Texas.

Will it happen? It is very doubtful because as soon as someone proposes that option the special interests will pay lawmakers to forget about it. It’s a vicious cycle.

Okay, so what can the public do to get lawmakers to work for them? Apparently, the only way to get lawmakers to do anything is to bang-down their doors, drown their phones with calls, and send emails and letters “up the kazoo”.

Until voters make more demands on lawmakers they will continue to circumvent the provisions of the state constitution and will only work consistently for their special interests. That is the nature of Texas politics and it’s not changing for the better in the immediate future.