This Week in Texas: February 23, 2011

Posted February 23, 2011 in The Mignon Memo

For those interested in legislative statistics, bill filings are down this session. According to the Texas Legislative Council, 2462 House and Senate Bills have been filed so far. 110 Joint Resolutions (otherwise known as constitutional amendments) have been filed. After today, there are 12 filing days remaining before the March 11 deadline. During the last regular session in 2009, a total of 7419 bills were introduced and 190 joint resolutions. Members can file bills after the filing deadline but it takes special permission from the members of that chamber in the form of a vote of four-fifths of the members present.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced the new Senate Select Committee on Open Government. The committee will review issues relating to transparency in state government, public information and open records. Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) will serve as chair, and Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) will serve as vice-chair. Other members of the committee include Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston); Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler); and Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano).

In his biennial State of the Judiciary address on Wednesday, Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson urged the Texas Legislature to protect legal aid funding and renewed his call for the reform of judicial elections.