April 8, 2009
By CHRISTY HOPPE
The Dallas Morning News
AUSTIN – Democrats always have chafed under the rule of socially conservative, fiscally tight Rick Perry. But in the current legislative session, it's not the opposition party that's pushing back.
Republicans raised red flags over the governor's transfer of $50 million from a job creation fund to his alma mater. Republicans spearheaded legislation to accept more than $550 million in unemployment insurance stimulus money, despite Perry's decision to reject it. And Republicans are offering a constitutional amendment to let the Legislature return to Austin to override a governor's vetoes.
In addition, when the session began in January, Perry designated five priorities "emergency items," waiving all rules so the GOP-controlled Capitol could speed them to him in 30 days. His charge hardly lit a fire: He will be lucky to get any of the bills in 90 days. . .
Perry's communications director, Mark Miner, said the tussle with the Legislature is all part of the legislative process. . .
SMU political science professor Cal Jillson said it goes further than that with Perry and the Legislature.
"The support for Rick Perry has always been very thin," Jillson said, adding that the policy tweaks and compromises of a legislative process are not Perry's strong suit.
"He's more ideological than pragmatic," Jillson said. "He's been a solid politician during the good times for the Republican Party, but it's not clear he has a second gear."
His vetoes of popular GOP-sponsored legislation have sparked the movement to allow lawmakers to return to Austin after a session and consider veto overrides, Jillson said.
"It's anti-Rick Perry, but it's not a good idea," he said. "If the governor lost the veto, it would make the office inconsequential. It would slip to one of the very weakest in the country."
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