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Sen. Linda Lopez's exit during a key part of the session opened the way for minority Republicans to strangle a bill that would have tightened security on absentee voting and added a felony penalty for fraud.

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The Senate Rules Committee cut in half the amount of money the program would receive. But the committee also gave the revamped proposal life as the legislative session nears its end.

Voters in the Republican primary might prefer a fresh face instead of the candidate who declared victory, lost the race and is still whining 15 months later.

Rarely does anyone in these forums say a prayer that's daring or memorable. The messenger sticks to generalities, then pockets a fee or sits down to enjoy dinner with the politicians.