Today is a big day for my institution. A deciding vote on whether to create a new university in south Texas by merging mine (The University of Texas-Pan American) with other institutions here in South Texas.
9:57 am: I’m a bit annoyed that the Texas legislature is only providing a stream through Real Player. God, it’s been years since I’ve used that software.
10:00 am: Opened up RealPlayer. Here we go.
10:05 am: An invocation. Wow. And it’s not even Sunday. Sometimes, I kind of forget how ingrained Christianity is in the official business of politics.
10:08 am: Pledge of allegiance and allegiance to the flag of Texas. And now a Doctor of the Day? I think they really mean Physician of the Day. Do you reckon a Ph.D. has ever been featured as Doctor of the Day?
10:12 am: Not much happening now. House getting called to order.
10:13 am: HR 651, a bill honoring NASA! It’s Space Day at the Texas capital. I’m actually quite glad that this is happening on the same day as our bill.
10:18 am: HR 373, a bill honoring the 80th anniversary of a church in Dallas.
10:22 am: An announcement of the opening day of the Texas Rangers baseball team? Yeah. More evidence that the public stuff is just for show, and the real work goes on in the backrooms and committees.
10:23 am: HR 948, Brezoria County Day at the State Capital. Wow. There are a lot of special days at the state capitol. It must get tiring.
10:26 am: A representative is announcing his mother’s 70th birthday. And there’s a HR 1012 to congratulate her.
10:30 am: HR 1020, homelessness awareness day.
10:37 am: Missed some stuff when someone came into my office. Now seems to be a bill celebrating a newspaper’s hundredth anniversary.
10:38 am. A representative from Brezoria County has five more resolutions... bet they’re all congratulatory for people in Brezoria County.
10:41 am: A representative just called himself “a small country boy.” I think he’s joking. But I’m not sure.
10:48 am: Now a memorial resolution, recognizing a former judge. Starting to feel lots of sympathy to the clerks, who have to read a lot of fairly mundane stuff quickly and accurately.
10:55 am: HR 887, a resolution honoring visitors to the capital. They're peeling through these fast. I wonder if the bill to create a new university will be ripped through at the same pace as these commemorative resolutions.
11:21 am: Someone is in my office again, but I turn back at just the right moment to catch debate on HB1000, with one senator raising concern about whether students trained at the medical school will stay in the state.
11:25 am: A representative says he hopes that in years to come, when people nationwide say, “the valley,” the question will be, “Do you mean Silcon Valley or the Rio Grande Valley?” A somewhat unexpected plug for the research aspect off the bill, rather than on the medical school, where most of the attention is focused.
11:27 am: The vote occurs. Final tally, 149 ayes, and 0 nays. No surprise that it passes, though perhaps the unanimity is. The bill has to have a third reading and go back to the Texas senate, but I cannot see anything that is going to stop this train now.
House Gives Early Approval to South Texas University