Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 70: Bullies and Voting and Marriage - Oh My

Today is the 70th day of the 82nd regular session of the Texas Legislature. The House reconvenes at 11 am, the Senate at 1:30 pm. Day 70 marks the half-way point in the 140 day legislative session, now is when things really start to speed up.

The Senate Education Committee will hear public testimony on SB 42, SB 205 & SB 242 on Tuesday, all three bills are designed to address the issue of bullying in schools. SB 242 is the most comprehensive of the three and is expected to the "water bearer" for bullying legislation in the Senate. According to a 2010 poll by Equality Texas 79.2% of Texas voters support legislation that protects school children, including LGBT school children, from bullying. Despite this the prospect of any meaning reform this session is looking dire. It is vital that members of the committee hear from Texans, particularly teachers and parents, about the need for this legislation. I encourage everyone who cares about the safety of students to not only contact the members of the Senate Education committee but to contact your friends and families and encourage them to do the same.

Chair Florence Shapiro 512-463-0108
Vice-Chair Dan Patrick 512-463-0107
John Carona 512-463-0116
Wendy Davis 512-463-0110
Mario Gallegos 512-463-0106
Steve Ogden 512-463-0105
Kel Seliger 512-463-0131
Leticia Van de Putte 512-463-0126
Royce West 512-463-0123

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Voter suppression legislation will be debated on the House floor this morning. The Bill (SB 14) already has 89 House sponsors and cosponsors, well more than the 76 votes required to pass. SB 14 is a Senate bill, any bill that becomes law must pass both the House and Senate. SB 14 was introduced and passed in the Senate and is now working it's way through the House. The bill would require a state or federally issued photo ID to vote. This was a major campaign issue for many of the teabaggers who firmly believe that undocumented immigrants are voting, despite multiple investigations that have failed to find any cases of in-person voting fraud. Absentee-voting, the method by which every documented case of voter fraud in Texas in the last 20 years has been committed, would not be affected by this bill. Most of the day on the House floor is going to follow this pattern:
  • Democrat offers an amendment designed to make sure a vulnerable population still has ballot access
  • Republican moves to table the amendment
  • amendment is tabled on a party-line vote
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HCR 110, encouraging President Obama to enforce the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" has picked up some additional co-authors. (for more information on HCR 110 read LQ's analysis of the resolution and it's faults HERE)

The list of current co-authors is:

Jose Aliseda 512-463-0645
Cindy Burkett 512-463-0464
Erwin Cain 512-463-0650
Stefani Carter 512-463-0454
Gary Elkins 512-463-0722
Dan Flynn 512-463-0880
Linda Harper-Brown 512-463-0641
Phil King 512-463-0738
Jim Landtroop 512-463-0604
Lyle Larson 512-463-0646
Dee Margo 512-463-0728
Doug Miller 512-463-0325
Charles Perry 512-463-0542
Four Price 512-463-0470
Charles Schwertner 512-463-0309
Van Taylor 512-463-0594
Raul Torres 512-463-0484
Bill Zedler 512-463-0374

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