A memo for a future Governor O'Rourke

We were curious.  If Beto is able to make history, beat the odds, and become the first Democratic Governor of Texas in almost 27 years this November, what should he do as Governor?  We held a policy draft.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Hey, soooo

Julian Delphiki II  : Let’s get started talking about what exactly this memo is

Julian Delphiki II  : I was thinking about it as the policy document to give to Beto when he takes office

Julian Delphiki II  : “These are the things you can realistically accomplish."

Birgitte_Nirenberg :   Makes sense; there's not exactly a Texas Democratic policy establishment.  We've been out of power for like 30 years.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : On my part, I think he would want to win re-election and should not focus on blitzing ideas that only progressives should want.

Julian Delphiki II  :  Did other folks have different ideas?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  :  I think he should run a Texas popularism campaign and focus on issues: Fixing the grid, Ethics Reform, Expanding Medicaid, and solving Immigration.

Macedonio Medina  : I’m starting with the premise that if Beto wins, he will barely win. And he would likely lose reelection. And so we should advise him to say, “Fuck it, might as well do best policy thing and forget about how it would play politically.”

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Blitzing

Julian Delphiki II  : Ok but wait

Julian Delphiki II  : The memo can be a “here are things you can realistically accomplish"

Macedonio Medina  : Yes

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Yes but what're you optimizing for?

Julian Delphiki II  : And that in and of itself can be supplemented by “and you should do it this way for political purposes"

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : kk, fair.

Julian Delphiki II  : It’s just two different questions

Julian Delphiki II  : I’m optimizing on “getting stuff done”

Birgitte_Nirenberg : I'm optimizing on "getting POPULAR stuff done so you can win re-election."

Macedonio Medina : What we’re optimizing for is a great question. Another way to think about is what he should prioritize?

Julian Delphiki II  : But maybe “think through politics” is a better angle because the Gov is historically weak and even if he wins, there’s not as much he can do through raw exertion of power.

Macedonio Medina  : That’s fine with me

Julian Delphiki II : Yeah I’m good going with Birgitte’s angle

Birgitte_Nirenberg  :  In terms of this, I guess we assume that in any world where Beto wins he wins very narrowly by 1 to 2 points, while also picking up another statewide race, as well as either barely having control of the Texas House and not having control of the Texas Senate period.

Julian Delphiki II  :  He won’t get control of the Texas House - but I’m willing to entertain the assumption because I don’t think it makes much of a difference

Macedonio Medina  : Same

Julian Delphiki II  :   And readers, the Texas House is badly gerrymandered which has just made that worse

Julian Delphiki II  : But dear reader, even when Democrats had a chance (at the weakest point of the gerrymander), we didn’t win it

Macedonio Medina  : Ok, so in this scenario, Beto won, but doesn’t have a sweeping “mandate.”

Julian Delphiki II  : Right

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So issue #: Expanding Medicaid.  If Beto wins, what could he do?

Julian Delphiki II  : I was super skeptical about this, but it turns out Governors have expanded Medicaid just through executive order.

Julian Delphiki II  : Separately, the State budget is the only bill constitutionally mandated to be a must pass bill in the Regular Session so Beto can just threaten to veto any budget that doesn’t expand Medicaid, and force #txlege to come back to multiple special sessions

Julian Delphiki II  : Republicans don’t like that, but they won’t be able to get out of it

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : But couldn't they override his veto?

Julian Delphiki II  : So they’ll have to play *some ball.  You need 100 votes in the House to override a veto, and there won’t be enough Republican votes to do that.  Gerrymanders protect incumbents on both sides, and Democrats will have seats with a decent enough margin, i.e. at least 50

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So basically, Republicans could not pass a budget for the state unless they expanded Medicaid per Beto's wish?

Julian Delphiki II  : Right, but Beto won’t get a “perfect” Medicaid. He’ll maybe get something like Arkansas or Louisiana - some sort of Red Medicaid program. He’ll have to negotiate on what’s covered, how much are premiums/copays, work requirements, etc. But he can get *something*

But even if that's the only thing he'd do, he'd have around 1.34 million Texans would get access to it! The hospital lobby and Texas Association of Business will quietly use their municipal lobbying force (which Patrick et al hate) to show rural Rs they’ll back them up in getting hospitals for their districts

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Depressingly, it turns out that Democrats did only slightly better in with voters who received Medicaid expansion

Julian Delphiki II  :  Medicaid expansion would be a singular good on its own

Birgitte_Nirenberg : Beto could also threaten to dip into the Rainy Day fund too right or would the GOP Comptroller be able to override him? #Txlege can take out funding from the Rainy Day Fund whenever they want. It’s part of the budget, and the Comptroller can’t stop them.

Macedonio Medina  : Would the Rainy Day fund need the legislature’s approval?

Julian Delphiki II  : It would, but again it’s part of a budget, and would just be part of the negotiation.  Maybe Medicaid expansion would happen, but K-12 might get cut a bit.  And Beto would have to figure out how to balance that.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So Beto couldn't do it on his own then, or at least do it unilaterally?

Julian Delphiki II  : Right

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Any dissenting views?

Julian Delphiki II  : Beto’s advantage in being Governor is that he can force the issue on the table and not let go until it’s done.

Macedonio Medina  : K-12 can’t get cut; Dems and rural Reps would kill him

Julian Delphiki II  : You say that, but I’d like to refer you to 2011/2013

Macedonio Medina  : ^Good point

Julian Delphiki II  : Anyway - I think this is something good, something generally popular (passes in red states all the time) and something that can show he’s a fighter

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Oh actually, I think Beto would have some legislative issues since he would need either ⅗’s or ⅔ ‘s of the legislature’s support.  He'd be limited in terms of appropriating  the Rainy Day fund. The Texas Constitution authorizes the Legislature to make appropriations  the ESF in response to three circumstances:

  1. a budget deficit during a biennium;
  2. a projected revenue shortfall in an ensuing biennium; or
  3. any other purpose the Legislature chooses at any time.

Appropriations for the first two circumstances require approval by three-fifths of the Legislature, while a general-purpose appropriation needs a two-thirds majority for passage.

Macedonio Medina  : And when the Republicans oppose him, he can use the bully pulpit to say, “These fuckers are trying to stop us  getting you health care." Or as Beto would say, “These pendejos”

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : He'll win over the small percentage of the electorate that votes solely on whether or not their elected leadership curses in an overwhelming margin :).

Julian Delphiki II  : The 2/3rd requirement isn’t great, but it’s possible.  You need something like 40 House Rs and 4 Senate Rs.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : It just means he'd have to negotiate a better deal for the GOP, but nonetheless possible. Anyway, y'all fine for the next issue?

Julian Delphiki II: I’m good at talking about the next issue.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Macedonio, what's your take on Immigration?

Macedonio Medina  : For starters, stop doing everything that Abbott is doing

Julian Delphiki II  : Yes. That’s clearly within Beto’s power.

Macedonio Medina  : The wall costs money AND is ineffective. It would make a big statement that we’re not building a wall.

Julian Delphiki II  : (Side note: I think Biden is still building the wall)

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Eh?

Julian Delphiki II  : (Finding the link)

Julian Delphiki II  : But go on Macedonio

Macedonio Medina  : What I would like him to do is reinstate some of what Governor Bush allowed such as allowing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. I’d also like him to support sanctuary cities and argue that taking away the threat of deportation not only helps the economy, but also helps law enforcement since they would be more likely to get cooperation  undocumented immigrants when investigating a crime that immigrants may have knowledge of.

Macedonio Medina  : ^But is that what he can/should do given our present context?

Julian Delphiki II  : I think that’s a hard pill to get #txlege to swallow. I don’t think this can happen sans legislation.

Macedonio Medina  : Probably not

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : On my part, I think that's the right policy, but in terms of a "re-election issue", "border security" has been the most urgent issue aside from like COVID in every single poll for the last 10  years.

Julian Delphiki II  : Biden going back on border wall promise

Macedonio Medina  : If he has to do border security, argue for using technology to monitor the border.

Julian Delphiki II  : That’ll require money and coordination with the Biden Admin

Macedonio Medina  : “We need to know who is coming into our country. And we also need a more speedy process for immigrants waiting in line.”

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : In terms of the Biden pledge you're referencing Julian, I think the terrifying reality is that policy is people, and the CPB may actually just kind of be slow-walking any implementation orders Biden gives it contrary to what they want.

Julian Delphiki II  : I’d agree with that, but I honestly don’t have any other options for Beto. My thought was to just undo what Abbott did and then do political damage control for four years.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I think the only way Beto can get around the fact that immigration will be the cudgel that the GOP uses to annihilate him if he runs for re-election in 2026, is if he hugs his opponents very close and tries a strategy that President Obama tried in 2009 with health-care: a classic DC taskforce.

Julian Delphiki II  : Ooh a taskforce! Can it be a Blue Ribbon? Oh wait, colors are partisan now.  I guess we’ll go with Android Green Ribbon.  (Sorry to the Android readers out there)

Macedonio Medina  : Sounds like a participation trophy, so no. Ribbons are for winners.

Julian Delphiki II  : (And Libertarians…)

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I say Beto should appoint a commission of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents with representatives from the federal govt, Ted Cruz/Cornyn’s office, the Lt. Gov's office, his Gubernatorial office, and have big public hearings.  And hell, he could even ask former ex-Governor Abbott to co-chair it.

Julian Delphiki II  : The networks will love it

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : And then he should call on this report to be passed by the Texas legislature in an immediate up/down vote.

Julian Delphiki II  : Gonna be the “well actually” guy for a moment

Julian Delphiki II  : No up/down votes in #txlege

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : If it somehow passes, it'll be an epic compromise, and he'd have enough leverage in the task-force to stop the GOP from suggesting too insane policies.

Julian Delphiki II  : There are *no immediate up/down votes, but I get where you’re going.

Macedonio Medina  : The task force seems to assume that the Republicans will act in good faith, right?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : And if the GOP says no, he can always just go with the blitzing strategy and just stop building the wall.

Julian Delphiki II  : Remind us again - what’s the blitzing strategy?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Doing the most progressive things as rapidly as you can regardless of political popularity knowing you'll lose re-election.   And I'm sure the GOP won't act in good faith, but I imagine if you say "Ted Cruz can't even have someone in his office attend a meeting" it may help win over Texas voters who say that Beto is genuinely trying?

Macedonio Medina  : Ok, so could we agree that on day 1, stop doing what Abbott is doing?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I think he should threaten that to get the GOP to the bargaining table. That aside, I don't think most of them would care; he doesn't have much leverage on them, and they'd correctly reason that they would actually like him to get rid of the wall so the next election would just be "WALL WALL WALL."

Macedonio Medina  : But then he’d have to keep doing what Abbott is doing if they call him on that?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So I think we're at an impasse? Maybe just agree to disagree?

Macedonio Medina  : We’ve reached a wall?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I see what you did there.

Macedonio Medina  : But no wall is insurmountable…

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Could Beto maneuver on immigration by doing an AMLO type thing? Where he asks Texans what they want in a non-binding referendum?

Julian Delphiki II  : AMLO?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : The President of Mexico.

Julian Delphiki II  : I was elected to lead, not to read"

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : But yeah, I imagine that could be controversial.

Julian Delphiki II  : Ok, so on immigration/border security, our memo would give Beto two options: Just undo what Abbott did and otherwise deflect,  Or barnstorm the state with a Bipartisan Green Ribbon Commission comprised of all Texans and then push Republicans into supporting those proposals

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Anything else he could do? Any out of the box suggestions?

Macedonio Medina  : No.

Julian Delphiki II  : Unfortunately this isn’t my area of expertise, so my imagination is tapped

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So guess we're ontooooooo Ethics Reform!  #CleanUpAustin         #ThrowtheBumsOut,   #StandUpToThe1%

Macedonio Medina  : #DrainTheSwamp

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : All the hashtags

Macedonio Medina : But, really, pay legislators a living wage

Julian Delphiki II  : Honestly that’s just DOA.  Legislators giving themselves a pay raise is horrendously unpopular. Even if it’s a super smart idea

Birgitte_Nirenberg : I think Beto should absolutely call endless special sessions until they pass ethics reform.

Macedonio Medina : It shouldn’t just be a pay raise, it should be a 500% raise at least

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : And say "we're gonna clean up this city and make it so crooks can't buy politicians."

Julian Delphiki II  : Dear reader: if you want to serve as a Texas State House member, you’ll get paid $600/month for 24 months and then $130 a day for 180 days while in the Regular session or less than $40k for two years

Julian Delphiki II  : And you’ll have to leave your real job for 5  months

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I think any salary increases should apply POST term for future legislators. That'll make it fair to Texans. And it should be a salary that's pegged to the City Council of Austin or Houston or something.

Julian Delphiki II  : Except incumbency reelection rates are super high. It’s effectively for themselves

Birgitte_Nirenberg : You could make it go into effect in 10  years

Julian Delphiki II  : But if we’re really going down this particular road, one way to try and sweeten the deal is to cut the legislator pensions. Right now legislators get a sweet pension deal if they serve.  But basically nothing while actually serving.

Macedonio Medina  : Give them the money right away. We need to make the legislature more accessible to non-wealthy people.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : That's smart policy.  Give them more money to live on/not be lobbyists, while minimizing future state obligations. Yes, but then no legislator would vote for it because they'd be seen as being crooks.

Julian Delphiki II  : Great piece from back in the day on this exact topic.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Every single one would lose a primary if they’re given the money right away.

Macedonio Medina  : An Apartment in Austin isn’t cheap

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I bet that idea polls incredibly badly.

Macedonio Medina  : Sure.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Also, most of them are millionaires anyway right? They just get paid as lobbyists.

Julian Delphiki II  : Most are lawyers, insurance agents and/or independently wealthy

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So it's not like these are working-class folks.

Macedonio Medina  : But if we were to want a corrupt police force for some reason, we’d pay them almost nothing. The public can understand that.

Julian Delphiki II  : People who can leave their jobs for 5  months and not be hurt too bad

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Yes but right now these legislators don't have police incomes.

Macedonio Medina  : I would argue that the fact that they don’t get paid is one of the causes for why most of them are independently wealthy

Julian Delphiki II  : Also- how about firms or corporations that lobby can’t retain lawyers that are members?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : No just ban legislators being lobbyists and set a limit on corporate donations

Macedonio Medina  : Yes, do that

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Starve the system.

Julian Delphiki II  : No no, Exxon for example hires a state Senator’s firm to do tax work; that should be illegal

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I mean; ban that too.

Macedonio Medina  : For sure

Julian Delphiki II  : I do want to go back to the execution here; I was super gung ho about Beto calling specials till he gets a budget with Medicaid expansion

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I think ethics reform would be even MORE popular, and I think he could also entice the GOP base with term limits

Julian Delphiki II  : But to do it on ethics reform I think runs into the legislators themselves getting upset, including Democrats

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : The GOP base loves the idea of term limits

Macedonio Medina  : Yes to term limits, even two terms

Julian Delphiki II  : Ton of incumbent Democrats like the system just how it is

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : The one issue is that doing this issue first would destroy Beto’s political capital with Democratic legislators, and they wouldn't support him on Medicaid after. They'd hate him.

Julian Delphiki II  : And will be incredibly annoyed to constantly be back on an issue that’s DOA

Macedonio Medina  : Start with just term limits to governors

Julian Delphiki II  : You can’t do it before Medicaid; Medicaid is part of the budget.  And that *must* pass during the Regular or else a special is constitutionally mandated to be called

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Budget always is passed first?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Gotcha.

Julian Delphiki II  : Yeah it’s not an order thing, it’s a must pass bill

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Glad we have Julian "House staff" Delphiki here.

Julian Delphiki II  : He’d have it running alongside the budget

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So I think we have corporate donation bans, bans on lobbyist employment, term limits, individual donation limits, anything else?

Julian Delphiki II  : And since the budget is where he used his capital, he’d have to call a special anyway for his reform package, assuming it doesn’t pass

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Yes, unlimited special legislative sessions.

Julian Delphiki II  : If we ban corporate money, are we also banning union money?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I bet the Unions would take it.  They'd have more power then.  Corporations can't put people out there to organize while Unions can.

Macedonio Medina  : “Hell yes we’re gonna take away your corporate donations!”

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : They'd have an advantage vs. corporations

Julian Delphiki II  : You think so, but sometimes they like to be big fish in small ponds

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Any other ideas on this?  Just being conscious of time.

Julian Delphiki II  : Lyle Larson wanted to limit Gov appointments of donors. And Abbott and him got into a fight about it

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : That's a great idea.

Julian Delphiki II  : Another show of good faith would be Beto bringing that to the table

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Is there an independent ethics board with a ton of power?

Julian Delphiki II  : I don’t think so

Julian Delphiki II  : Texas Ethics Commission could get some additional teeth.  A bunch of candidates didn’t file properly their 8-day cycle reports and probably received just $500 fines, which is pretty weak in a state where there are no campaign contribution limits

Macedonio Medina  : Yes to limit to appointing donors

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Oh!  Also, stopping candidates  being able to live off their campaign funds and/or put them into the stock market.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Any final ideas?

Julian Delphiki II  : Also - just to make sure it’s clear: I think there’s a real argument to *not* doing donation limits. Donation limits lead to heavy call time which means less time talking to voters

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I think with social media it's a lot easier to reach a ton of voters and get small donations now.

Julian Delphiki II  : Yes the donor base is wider, but it still means you end up talking to the professional managerial class

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I mean who do you think those big donors are?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : They're definitely just rich folks.

Julian Delphiki II  : But there’s fewer of them because they can give more money

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Getting a bigger mass of small donors is less corrupting.

Julian Delphiki II  : And as cheap as social media is, direct mail is still 55  cents a piece

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Really?

Julian Delphiki II  : Getting a bigger mass of small donors is also more polarizing

Macedonio Medina  : Yes, I’d also say that less voter time is a cost. And I’d say it’s worth having limits to prevent a very few number of people having soooo much power

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I agree with you about ideology Julian, but Texas is super corrupt.  We're not talking about like Vermont.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : I think the trade-off in this case should be against corruption given how corrupt the legislature is.

Julian Delphiki II  : I mean this is why I support a larger Texas House - smaller districts = cheaper campaigns.  But that’s a discussion for another day.  I just wanted to flag it as a real trade off

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Sure, let's throw in expand the house too; don't know if that's popular or not, but it's good policy and maybe not that polarizing?

Julian Delphiki II  : That for sure won’t pass anywhere

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Any final suggestions? or ready to move to the FINAL ISSUE?

Julian Delphiki II  : Was about to say - yeah let’s do the final issue

Macedonio Medina  : I’m good

Julian Delphiki II  : And the BIG BOSS IS.....

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : FIXING THE DAMN GRID

Julian Delphiki II  : (This is how people will know we’re 30  something nerds - when I say things like who is the big boss)

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Wonder what that'd be if it was a boss

Birgitte_Nirenberg  :Bowser? Andross?

Julian Delphiki II  : NEEERRRD

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Lord Zedd?

Julian Delphiki II  : Lord Zedd

Julian Delphiki II  : Yeah I like that.  Solid

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So this gets into a bit of minutae

Julian Delphiki II  :

Did y’all know Amy Jo Johnson, the original Pink Ranger, directed the latest episode of Superman and Lois. Sorry I’m done.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : She's a Director?  Go Kimberly

Julian Delphiki II  : Word.  TOMMYYY

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : IAnyway, if you want to fix the grid and stop us  having supply shortfalls, there's probably 2  ways

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : 1. You can create a structure where we pay power generators to remain online as extra capacity, creating a "capacity market." This would make Texans energy bills slightly higher, but would have a much higher amount of reliability.

Julian Delphiki II  : Yeah that makes sense to me

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : 2. We could end ERCOT's status as an islanded grid and join either the Western Interconnection or Eastern Interconnection.

Julian Delphiki II  : There’s a lot of business people who like item 2

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Given that CAISO is probably controversial because California wouldn't want to take Texas fossil fuels, Eastern Interconnection would make more sense.

Julian Delphiki II  : There’s profit to be made there

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : The "how" is where it gets tricky.

Julian Delphiki II  : Like technical how or political how?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : ERCOT answers to its own board, and ERCOT as an entity answers to the Texas Public Utility Commissioners who are appointed by the GOVERNOR and confirmed by the Senate.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : So Beto could try and pressure Abbott's PUC commissioners to resign, and/or fill the gaps and/or wait till their terms expired.

Julian Delphiki II  : Any pressure would get Republicans upset about process

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : But he would have to reach a settlement with the Texas Senate on who goes on there.

Julian Delphiki II  : exactly, and honestly that means settling with Dan Patrick, because even if a majority of State Senators agreed, Patrick can keep it off the agenda

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : A likely outcome would probably be some ex oil/gas folks who work in renewables now kind of thing.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : It's not clear to me how Texas/oil and gas would feel about this

Julian Delphiki II  : I thought they wanted to sell energy across state lines

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Well so it's complicated; Oil and gas in other states already falls under FERC partly.  But natural gas operators in ERCOT answer to the Texas PUC and ERCOT, so this would put them under DC potentially. This aside, they kind of do this in other states, so it's not that big of a deal?  It all depends on how shit scared the natural gas industry in Texas is. Basically, Beto would have to get his PUC commissioners and his office to generate a report with FERC on how Texas could join MISO and/or another interconnection

I wasn't able to find any laws that actually prevent Texas  doing it.  So it seems like something the Governor can kind of do through executive authority without the legislature.

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Anyway, I talked a lot, sorry.

Julian Delphiki II  : So it feels like there’s a real political question here

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Being?

Julian Delphiki II  : And, despite our last topic, a place for lobbyists to weigh in

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : It'd be a massive lobbyist free for all

Julian Delphiki II  : In the House, I could see a real fight between different winners/losers among the energy industry.  But honestly, in the Senate, it still feels like Patrick would say no. This is where corporate donations matter

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Actually, when I think about it.  Incumbent utilities in Louisiana and Arkansas would throw all their money into killing it.

Julian Delphiki II  : Patrick isn’t worried about corporate donations so he can take a hard core stance - “never joining any other grid”.  His contributions are all small dollar.  So while I’d love Beto to try something like this. It feels harder to do than immigration (crazy), more so Ethics, and even more so Medicaid

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : But where would Patrick have leverage besides the PUC?

Julian Delphiki II  : That’s all the leverage he needs.  He just bottles the appointments

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Yeah...

Julian Delphiki II  : Actually Beto could do recess appointments, and try to get around it that way

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Ah, so then Patrick has to play ball. He could still stop him in the Senate confirmation.

Julian Delphiki II  : But ultimately, Patrick will go over to the House side, and figure a way to get the Lege to overturn Beto’s idea

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Beto would probably welcome that so he can look in touch with Texans, when he vetoes any bill they put against him.

Julian Delphiki II  : Like say ERCOT decides to try and regulatorily try and circumvent process.  Patrick can come in and pre-empt it with statute

Julian Delphiki II  : That’s true - Beto does then have the veto

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Senate and House would have to override the Beto veto, and this is unpopular as shit

Julian Delphiki II  : Eh, maybe there’s a real negotiation there

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : Even the Texas GOP doesn't trust GOP politicians on the power grid!

Julian Delphiki II  : I don’t have super strong thoughts here

Birgitte_Nirenberg  : It's their weakest issue; it's just not something most voters think about until their power goes out sadly.

Julian Delphiki II  : Not a policy expert and honestly the politics do look unclear to me, but I think as we close up this convo.  Something I underestimated was Beto’s ability to veto and recess appointments.  Despite the Lt Gov being more powerful than Governor, the Gov really does have leverage.  And there’s quite a bit Beto could do, on some really important issues to Texans.  Any last thoughts friends?

Birgitte_Nirenberg  :

Beto could

. Expand Medicaid most likely

. Make headway on connecting ERCOT to the Eastern Interconnection         . Probably try and shame his way into immigration and/or ethics reform but probably couldn't do as much there