The Truth about the 82nd Texas Legislature
(Dog and Pony Show)
The supermajority of Republicans in the Texas legislature could not seem to make quorum twice, and possibly on many more days, in the week prior to the end of the special session to take up the people’s business. I watched the House members scatter all over the floor turning keys on adjacent desks and others as if those members were there, but were they? Strangely enough, on Friday June 24th, Speaker Straus called the TSA bill a publicity stunt, and told reporters on the floor a few minutes later there was not quorum. However, there were 126 members on the roll call, but Straus adjourned for lack of quorum anyway. What I have witnessed is how the special interest pulls the strings of politicians, and how the people have become but a mere thorn in the side of the establishment. They don’t like us, and they don’t want us watching. Now, I know why. And, I’ll share with you what they don’t want you to know…
I arrived in Austin on Sunday, June 26th for our monthly Tea Party Caucus Advisory Board meeting in the Senate conference room. After much discussion about the next steps for the movement in Texas, we read through the pending legislation that sat upon our House and Senate. Curiously, the Sanctuary Cities bill still sat in the House State Affairs Committee held to die by Chairman Byron Cook (R – Corsicana) who, in his words, “holds a special place in his heart for illegal’s”. So, we knew on arrival that the Sanctuary Cities bill was dead. Although Governor tagged this bill as one of his emergency items, this bill died in the Senate in the regular session due to the 21 vote rule. In the regular session the Senate voted 12-12. The 21 vote rule does not apply in the special session and passed out of the Senate in two weeks where it was ultimately killed by the House.
Monday, as we prepared to tour the Capitol looking for friends of the movement and doing interviews, we participated in a press conference that highlighted the dangers that we warned the freshman legislators prior to the election of the Texas Speaker of the House have come to pass.
Patiently, we waited to hear when the committee was going to meet to discuss the TSA legislation. By this time, surely the bill would be acceptable since just the day before, a ninety five year old woman dying from cancer had to remove her adult diaper for a TSA search at an airport. Perhaps if she had just worn a burka she would have been ushered on through the check point.
Back and forth through the house (H.B. 41) and senate (S.B. 29) the TSA bill went. Texas had the opportunity to secure the fourth amendment for the citizens of America, not just Texans. We all know that when this bill was first brought to the floor in the senate by Senator Dan Patrick, the Lt. Governor, David Dewhurst, worked diligently against the legislation by seeking a letter from the TSA issuing the threat to suspend all flights in Texas. David Dewhurst began to use the letter that he requested to peel off the votes for the bill quietly behind Senator Patrick’s back. When David Dewhurst allowed the bill to come to a vote he knew that he successfully pulled enough votes for it to ultimately fail.
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst killed the bill in the Senate in the regular session, and then in a press conference leading into the special session, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made the attempt to take credit for the nationally popular legislation. He claimed that there were people in the legislature that tried to stall and run the clock out. And it was David Dewhurst who is guilty of his own allegations. He spoke of principles that are obviously just words to the three kings of Texas:
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, Governor Perry was caught on film in New Orleans during a book signing for his book “Fed Up”, ironically, when he made the claim that they did not have the votes to pass the TSA bill and that there was not enough time left in the session to get it done. However, that video went viral and Governor Perry added the TSA legislation to the special session less than 24 hours when the video hit the internet. I sat down with the Governor that Tuesday, and he said that he added the legislation because he was informed on his way back that they had the votes, not because of the video. His response was genuine, but you decide.
The house passed a watered down version of TSA (H.B. 41) with at least 100 co-authors. Once it was sent to the senate (S.B. 29), and there is that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst again, things got more sticky. Rep. David Simpson passionately carried the legislation and was upset about the watered down version, but upon working the Attorney General, he accepted the new language to keep the bill viable. With little time left, it was sent back to the Senate for conference. Suprisingly, the Senate removed most of the objectional language out creating a stronger version than the House put forth.
Tuesday morning, as I entered the House chamber at 9:00am it was empty. The Senate was doing the people’s business and the House was scheduled to gavel in at 2:00pm. Why were the Texas legislators not at work like the Senate? Simple, it was one of those stalling tactics that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was guilty of doing himself in the regular session. With 101 Republicans, the house could have gaveled in at 9:00am and voted to suspend the rules to get the work done, but Joe Straus chose not to. And, the legislators were silent.
That evening, around 5:45pm everything fell apart. The budget (S.B. 1) did NOT pass. Perhaps real Conservatives in the House tried to hold the budget hostage until the TSA legislation could move forward? Immediately, a meeting of the Republican Caucus was called, and ironically, so was the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee meeting for the TSA bill. In order for TSA to pass at this point, it still had to go through two more readings before they could take a vote. “There is not enough time” the house claimed. But, they failed to mention that when the Senate sent the TSA bill to the House, the messenger was refused and the bill was sent back, causing further delay.
All of the sudden, the motion to reconsider S.B. 1 was made by Rep. Phil King, so all of the Republicans were called back to the floor to vote. And when they arrived, Chair Rep. Pete Gallego went into the concurrent Criminal Jurisprudence meeting as the Republicans left to vote. Since the Republicans left the CJP meeting in that second he canceled it. This is where the bill was ultimately killed. Sadly, Rep. Gallego could have called the Criminal Jurisprudence meeting that evening, but he didn’t. Note: Rep. Gallego was appointed by House Speaker Joe Straus.
In order to keep the bill alive, they would now have to vote to suspend a constitutional rule, requiring 4/5 of the vote instead of the normal 2/3. In other words, this would have required 120 votes to place the TSA bill into it’s third reading for final passage. The motion was lost 26Y, 26N, 2 present – not voting and 26 absent. The measure failed by 24 votes.
Senator Dan Patrick’s thoughts:
Wednesday, the House gaveled in at 10:00am with silly resolutions. For example, they spent time talking about honoring a man who had died but had perfect attendance for 60 years at rotary club. Seriously, this is your tax dollars at work folks.
When they finally decided to take up actual business, I could feel the treacherous demise of the TSA legislation. Rep David Simpson boldly stepped up to the mic to defend the fourth amendment for all Americans, and he took shot after shot by Democrats. Rep. Joseph Deshotel (D-Beaumont) actually said that they passed the TSA legislation that, “Terrorists would start using old white ladies and put C4 in their adult diapers”. No kidding. In the end, Republicans tried to cover the Houses tail by blaming the Senate. Rep. Simpson stood strong and vote after vote, the rules were suspended to allow the second reading but failed to achieve the 4/5 vote to get to the third. Twenty-six members were absent that day. Nine were excused.
Joe Straus was asked from the floor how many legislators were excused. He said, “9”. However, the record shows 26 additional members were absent. The TSA bill failed by 24 votes. Where were those members on that critical last day of the speical session?
In the final hour of the last day of the special session. Rep. Simpson stepped out on the house floor to speak from privilege. And when he spoke, he uncovered all the lies and tricks that the three kings of Texas used to fool Texans and shed some light on what Governor Perry was going to attempt to take credit for on the national scene.
The house adjourned Sine Die. Money talks! So Texans, once again, got the short end of the stick!
Some people are more visual. And many requrie more proof, especially the House Members have been attempting to blame the Senate for their failure:
SB9: Sanctuary Cities
(click to enlarge image)
HB 41: TSA ‘anti-groping’ Bill
(click to enlarge image)
Your Reps are now back in their respective districts to report on the session, however, they have all been armed with lies and finger pointing. HERE are few questions to ask your State Representative:
1. How did you support Rep. David Simpson with the TSA bill?
2. Did you speak on behalf of the bill?
3. What did you do to help the Sanctuary Cities bill?
4. Did you speak on behalf of the bill?
5. Is the budget fully funded for two years?
6. Was $4B for Medicaid deferred to 2013? How is that Conservative?
7. What other accounting gimmicks (i.e. tax speed ups) were used to make us believe the budget was balanced and funded?
(If they are honest, it will blow your mind!)
8. Did the TX Legislature vote to fund $1/2 Billion for TV Commercials for Fortune 500 companies?
(Is that the state Government role? – NO- It’s special Interest Payment)
FACT: WIthout the gimmicks (tax speed ups), cutting ‘one time’ federal stimulus funds, and defferals the 82nd Texas Legislature actually INCREASED the budget by $1.5B dollars.
That’s NOT Conservative to me, is it to you?
Some of you will be surprised to find out that your Rep. did NOTHING to advance the legislation that you elected them to do. The house floor was filled with weak persons who were just a bunch of followers or flat out Cowards! I WAS THERE!
An effort has been made for the Citizens of Texas to keep the TSA and Sanctuary Cities bills alive!
Over 1000 individual Texans and nearly 100 local tea party groups have endorsed the Open Letter to Governor Rick Perry urging him to call a special session to consider the vital immigration reform neglected by the 82nd Texas Legislature this session.
Given the continually-mounting cost, both in dollars and in human lives, we are convinced that Texas simply can’t wait another two years for another chance to require employment verification and end sanctuary cities.
Are you with us? If so, please consider signing the Open Letter here:
PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!