Political experts here in Texas have noted that the current legislative session has been noticeably calm and free from the bitter debates that characterized the previous two sessions. Some of this, they say, likely has to do with the fact that the prevailing attitudes toward certain hot-button issues, such as immigration, have actually shifted among state lawmakers.
To illustrate, immigration recently came to the forefront a few weeks ago when the House State Affairs Committee was called upon to consider House Bill 3738, a measure that would prohibit state law enforcement officials from making any inquiries about immigration status to either the victims or witnesses of crimes.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth), passed the committee by an 8-4 vote with the support of five Democrats and three Republicans.
"This session's tone is completely different from last session's tone," said Burnam. "People are recognizing that there are fundamental questions and problems in our community that need to be addressed, and this bill is one of those issues."