The record-setting temperatures this summer stressed the grid nearly to the breaking point several times. ERCOT, the agency responsible for operating the power grid, issued several “conservation alerts” over the past three months, with one episode of “emergency operations” that warned of possible rolling blackouts. Fortunately, the grid remained operational and no blackouts were needed, but it was a close run thing. A grid that can’t properly respond to Texas summer heat is not a grid that is fixed. Despite the grid’s reliance on solar, wind, and battery power, “The Legislature excluded solar, wind and battery storage from property tax benefits passed through the Texas Jobs, Energy, Technology and Innovation Act in May. The new law provides 10-year reductions on school taxes to new business developments including oil and natural gas,” according to the Texas Tribune. If the Legislature were serious about fixing the grid instead of lining the pockets of their donors, they would have included solar, wind, and battery power in their bill. Fortunately, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (which all Republican members of the Texas Congressional delegation voted against) will provide “$60.6 million from the federal government to help utilities strengthen infrastructure on the state’s electricity grid. The U.S. Department of Energy announced that it will award the funds so that Texas’ power grid might better withstand extreme weather events,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Getting a direct flight from the San Antonio Airport (SAT) to Reagan National in DC is a “massive priority”, says Ted Cruz, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The main obstacles to a direct flight are FAA rules that restrict the number of flights into Reagan and the distance of the flight. Exceptions must be sought to both rules in order to establish a flight, and it’s long past time for such an exception to be granted to SAT. SAT recently broke ground on a five-year, $2.5 billion expansion that will include a new Terminal C (which will be larger than the current Terminals A and B combined and add 17 new gates), a much-needed renovation of the outdated Terminal A, and upgrades to the airfield and roadway. Currently, SAT has 10 million passengers a year, an average of 25,000 a day. These improvements will accommodate a projected growth to 15 million passengers per year over the next twenty years. A news release in August from SAT stated, “SAT made history in July with more than one million passengers flying in and out of the airport.” It's high time for SAT to amp up its game and obtain more nonstops, which will benefit anyone who travels.
The average temperature across the U.S. in July 2023 was 2.1 degrees above normal, “with July 2023 ranking as the 11th-hottest July in the 129-year climate record.” NOAA also said that “July 3, 4 and 5 all consecutively broke records as the Earth’s hottest day since scientists began recording in 1979.” Despite warming temperatures, “Leading energy companies are intent on…expanding fossil fuel production and insisting that there is no alternative. While governments will need to lead the way to making significant adjustments to mitigate climate change, we can all make personal changes to reduce our environmental impact.
The United States is playing Russian Roulette with our debt and our fiscal future. The current national debt is a whopping $32 trillion, almost 100% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We must raise revenue from 19% to 21% of GDP by eliminating most deductions, exclusions, preferences, and credits. We must bring spending down (currently 23% of GDP) to revenue over the next 10 years by freezing domestic and defense spending, reforming healthcare, and putting Social Security on a solid footing by reducing benefits to the top 25% of earners.
Vote at home is also called vote by mail or absentee voting. It is increasing throughout the United States because it is a great way to improve voter turnout and reduce election costs. Texas scores among the lowest in voter-friendly policies. Expanding mail in and absentee voting would be a great way to improve voter turnout, strengthen our election security, and secure our democracy for future generations.
The Texas Legislature closed its regular session this year without passing measures that would make voting in Texas easier. Texas ranks 46th in “ease of voting,” according to a study in the “Election Law Journal.” Four ways to address are" online voter registration, no-excuse absentee voting, mail-in ballot application simplification, and accept more kinds of photo IDs.
In his January, 1941 message to Congress, President Franklin Roosevelt ended his speech by explaining the concept of four freedoms. We had not entered World War II with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor some ten months away. Today we continue to be tested both here and around the world to defend freedom. FDR’s message still rings true. The freedom of speech and worship, and from want and fear represent an ideal for humanity to realize. It is time to end extremism. It is time to replace hatred with kindness.
Article discusses the results of the 88th Texas Legislature with school vouchers still unpassed and HB 12 and HB 2390 as victories and disappointments such as HB 2744 and HB 3995. Governor Abbott has vowed to call multiple special sessions to pass many critical items. KCDP plans to keep a close eye on bills introduced in these sessions.