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May 30, 2015      5:18 PM

SB: The Texas Senate Stands

Our editor says that despite the Tea Party’s big electoral victories, many of their top priorities were smashed against the armor bolted onto the upper chamber – much to the consternation of its new presiding officer.

As the 84th Texas Legislature nears the finish line, there will be plenty of talk about which lawmakers were the best and worst, which made a difference, which made no difference at all, and what new laws will make Texas a better or worse place.

I’ll leave that kind of list-making to wiser folks for the moment.  

Instead a discussion of an institution is in order now because, frankly, it still works. For the most part, anyway.

In “Master of the Senate,” LBJ biographer Robert Caro writes of the United States Senate that it was “created to be independent, to stand against the tyranny of presidential power and the tides of public opinion. It had stood.” In Texas, the upper chamber of The Legislature has been called “the world’s greatest deliberative body” – sometimes seriously and other times in jest – for decades.

When the Tea Party freshmen of 2015 arrived in the Texas Senate, they were eager to pass harsh anti-immigrant measures including a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities” and a repeal of in-state tuition for young people who lack legal status. They were also on a mission to legalize the open carry of a handgun with no license. On that last one, they came close. So close.

These proposals faced fierce opposition from the business community, law enforcement and faith leaders. Bibles, badges and business still matter on some issues here in the Great State, but not on others it seems.

By Scott Braddock