Texas data points of order for the week of April 7, 2017

Most of this week's focus in state politics was on the budget bill coming to the floor in the House, and the debate was filled with the usual theater, hijinks, and even a few surprises (we're looking at you, Texas Enterprise Fund).  Meanwhile, the Trump administration got their man nominated to the Supreme Court and lobbed some cruise missiles at an isolated (and probably forewarned) airport, though many (especially the not-consulted U.S. Congress) wonder what the strategy in Syria is beyond some missile-based signaling.

1. Thursday’s (and into Friday morning’s) marathon-ish budget bill debate has gotten plenty of pumped up, borderline breathless coverage elsewhere. The SAUstin American Statesman and others focused on how the vote on State Rep. Abel Herrero's amendment limiting transfers of public money for private education put a number -- 103-44 -- on the balance of power between support for and opposition to using public money for private education -- and, by extension, illustrated just how dead the Lieutenant Governor’s School Voucher Bill, SB 3, is in the Texas House (as members in the House have been saying for months now). Unless Lt. Gov. Patrick is willing to turn the screws on Senators to hold up the budget in conference over the most minimal voucher bill they can agree to, a big win on this issue will elude the Lt. Governor again this session. Note that the map below is interactive -- you can zoom in take a close look at the urban districts.

2nd Reading Amendment 8 by Herrero

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Democratic YeasRepublican YeasRepaublican Nayes
District 22District 105District 96
District 74District 57District 56
District 39District 18District 45
District 131District 3District 73
District 145District 113District 138
District 103District 58District 24
District 144District 83District 128
District 116District 8District 112
District 123District 29District 82
District 76District 11District 136
District 79District 54District 135
District 40District 17District 23
District 147District 59District 106
District 95District 55District 97
District 117District 64District 5
District 41District 72District 91
District 139District 134District 93
District 111District 2District 60
District 75District 84District 122
District 148District 69District 89
District 120District 4District 67
District 109District 25District 108
District 31District 33District 130
District 119District 127District 63
District 143District 32District 129
District 34District 12District 115
District 49District 88District 126
District 48District 102District 61
District 50District 44District 70
District 100District 99District 6
District 140District 71District 132
District 35District 81District 13
District 38District 43District 66
District 46District 16District 65
District 124District 26District 92
District 78District 7District 150
District 36District 53District 94
District 107District 9District 114
District 80District 21District 20
District 37District 62District 98
District 77District 87District 52
District 42District 14District 30
District 104District 68District 133
District 27District 85District 47
District 51District 86
District 125District 1
District 90District 19
District 110District 10
District 146District 28
District 101
District 118
District 142
District 149
District 137

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Don't know21%

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Don't know21%18%21%

2. Your crusade (today) is inside baseball. The house also moved to de-fund the Texas Enterprise Fund, which lead to the much-covered indignation of State Representative Stickland. He didn’t affect the outcome at all, but certainly garnered some media coverage. Texans in general may not quite get what the fuss is all about, given the lack of awareness of the Texas Enterprise Fund back when it was something of an issue. To be fair, Representative Stickland’s sense of harm also encompassed the integrity of the legislative process. He’ll have to staunch the flow of a wellspring of positive views of Texas government, especially among Texas Republicans and Tea Party identifiers to get somewhere with that, but we’re sure the efforts will continue.

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A lot7%
Not very much29%
Nothing at all46%

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Very favorable6%9%29%
Somewhat favorable16%21%46%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable26%26%16%
Somewhat unfavorable19%14%5%
Very unfavorable30%24%2%
Don't know/no opinion2%7%2%

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categoryDemocratRepublicanTea Party
Very favorable7%28%35%
Somewhat favorable14%44%48%
Neither favorable nor unfavorable24%21%12%
Somewhat unfavorable19%5%4%
Very unfavorable34%1%2%
Don't know/no opinion2%2%0%

3. The House bill did, of course, continue to assume a draw from the state’s Rainy Day fund in the wake of the Speaker’s much-covered criticism of the “Enron”-like accounting in. Here are those numbers again.

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Don't know/No opinion26%

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Don't know/No opinion26%25%26%

4. The House interrupted its debate over the budget Thursday evening to call for a moment of prayer as the news broker of U.S. Missiles in Syria – does this mean we’ll be more open to refugees if the Trump administration escalates further? Probably not, and they probably won’t escalate further at this point anyway, based on the measured, largely inconsequential signaling that this attack represents. Congress and the rest of us await a more elaborated explanation of the strategy here, beyond characterizing it as a departure from the previous administration.  Departure is good, perhaps, but intended destination is, too.  

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Strongly support8%33%65%
Somewhat support15%22%18%
Somewhat oppose18%21%9%
Strongly oppose51%11%6%
Don't know8%12%3%

5. The U.S. Senate invoked the nuclear option and confirmed Steven Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This is likely to continue the rehabilitation of perceptions of the SCOTUS in eyes of conservatives after a crisis of confidence caused by the Roberts' court's decisions affirming gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act, as a look at movement in Texas conservatives' approval of the court illustrates.

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The U.S. Congress, the legislative branch0%4%21%
The President, the executive branch70%30%8%
The U.S. Supreme Court, the judicial branch18%35%41%
Don't know11%31%31%

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The U.S. Congress, the legislative branch6%6%31%
The President, the executive branch42%20%4%
The U.S. Supreme Court, the judicial branch28%27%20%
Don't know24%46%44%

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The U.S. Congress, the legislative branch5%9%6%
The President, the executive branch6%18%47%
The U.S. Supreme Court, the judicial branch65%36%20%
Don't know24%37%27%