30 June 2011

Texas folds 'em

Last month, during the big dust-up about the anti-TSA bill in Texas that would have made TSA groping illegal, I wrote up a quick piece about the bill. In that post, I said this:
I didn't think the bill would ever become law, but I didn't think it would be because the Texas legislature would roll over at the first hint of resistance from the federal government.
Yesterday, it died for reasons that I did expect. Stop Austin Scanners, again, has the story:
This morning, HB 41/SB 29 died by parliamentary procedure, by failing to get sufficient votes to suspend the Texas Constitution to allow 2nd and 3rd readings on the same day.

[...] The Texas Constitution prohibits 2nd and 3rd readings on the same day unless 4/5th of the 150 member body consents to suspend the Constitution to pass the bill.

This would  not have happened if Governor Rick Perry had not waited to call the bill before the 11th hour, and House Speaker Joe Straus (both Republicans) not violated House rules by not bringing HB 41 for its first vote last Friday, June 24th after a quorum had been established and no other business but HB 41 was scheduled.  Speaker Straus later called HB 41 nothing more than a “publicity stunt” and the refused to acknowledge the Senate messenger yesterday.

Had Straus allowed the messenger deliver SB 29 at the time it was presented, the bill’s 2nd reading could have been completed yesterday, leaving open today for a constitutionally proper 3rd reading.  Instead, in a politically vulgar move, the Speaker manipulated the proceedings to force Representative Simpson to subvert the constitution he most fervently seeks to uphold by calling for its suspension to achieve final passage of SB 29.
Liberty died, not by force, but quietly choked out by political chicanery. Of the people, by the people, and for the people, indeed.

22 June 2011

Texas tries again

Says Kathryn Muratore:
This is very good news, indeed. Texas State Rep David Simpson introduced two bills to the legislative session this year[.] In a wild turn of events, the legislative session was extended by Gov Rick Perry for a month to finish work on other legislation, and it was left to his sole discretion to decide what to add to the agenda. With a little over a week left in the extended session — and after an about-face by Lt Gov David Dewhurst, a nationwide campaign, and recent publicity of state legislators being violated by the TSA — the [anti-groping] bill is back on the agenda.
From Star-Telegram article:
Some state officials and lawmakers have offered anecdotes to illustrate what they say is inappropriate or invasive behavior by TSA inspectors.

State Rep. Barbara Nash, R-Arlington, said she has thought several times that TSA inspectors went too far in security patdowns. Recently, she said, a female inspector felt "all the way up" the outside of her dress, in back and front.

"It made me angry. ... it was not something I would want to happen to someone else," Nash said.

At the other end of the political spectrum, state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, one of the most liberal members of the House, was also critical of TSA procedures.

"I definitely think the way TSA is implementing their responsibilities is invasive of people's privacy," he said.
It would seem the bill's appeal crosses political lines, though, it would seem politics will still play a role as the article goes on to say:
Burnam supported the legislation in the regular session but said he was uncertain whether he will remain a supporter, saying he was "put off" by Perry's decision to include it in the special session.

"This whole special session is almost disgusting," Burnam said. "It's all about his candidacy for the presidency. It's not about what's good for Texas."
Not what's good for Texas? "Put off" by Perry's decision? Hey Burnam, how about you consider "taking one for the team", here. Instead of trying to screw Perry by voting against this legislation (which you actually support), how about you try to avoid screwing the people that you supposedly serve by protecting their liberty?

The legislation has until next Wednesday (June 29) to pass. Follow the fight here.