May 31, 2011
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who played a pivotal role in sabotaging a bill that would have criminalized TSA groping in the state’s airports, has written a letter to Gov. Rick Perry asking for a special session.
Only the Governor may call the Legislature into special sessions, unlike other states where the legislature may call itself into session.
Dewhurst wants a number of legislative issues taken up in the special session, most notably redistricting and Rep. David Simpson’s bill making groping without probable cause a felony.
After federal intimidation – threatening to shut down air traffic in Texas – Simpson’s bill failed to get the two thirds vote necessary. The Western Texas Division U.S. District Attorney’s office sent the threatening letter prior to a vote on HB 1937.
“The Texas Sam Houston fought for and governed apparently is learning submission,” Simpson said after the bill went down in flames.
In response to federal intimidation and meddling in state politics, Alex Jones spearheaded a rally at the capitol in Austin. See his video covering the event below.
For more on Dewhurst’s effort to sink the bill, see Paul Joseph Watson’s Republican Lt. Governor Killed TSA Bill For Obama.
It looks like the Lt. Gov. is attempting an about-face on his effort to sink the bill.
Dewhurst spokesman Mike Walz told the Houston Chronicle Dewhurst “always supported the goals of the legislation which is why he brought it up twice for a vote.” He said he thought it was worthy of attention during a special session since it would no longer need two-thirds support for passage in the Senate.
Dewhurst’s letter to Perry follows.
Dear Governor Perry,
Unfortunately, despite the very hard work and determination of the majority of Members of both the House and Senate, the Legislature was unable to pass a number of important bills, including SB 1811 needed to fund the budget, before the deadline of midnight last night.
Still, there is still an outside possibility that SB 1811 could pass the Texas Senate today with the bipartisan support of four-fifths of the Members. However, if this vote should fail − forcing us into Special Session − I believe that it would be in the best interest of all Texans to start tomorrow and ask you to consider including the following bills in your call:
SB 1811 – Relating to certain state fiscal matters and making necessary appropriations; providing penalties;
SB 8 – Relating to improving the quality and efficiency of health care;
SB 23 – Relating to the administration of reforms, efficiency, cost-saving, fraud prevention, and funding measures for certain health and human services and health benefits programs;
HB 5 – Relating to establishing an Interstate Health Care Compact;
HB 12 – Relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities;
HB 272 – Relating to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and to the resolution of certain disputes concerning claims made to that association;
SB 12/HB400 – Relating to the flexibility of the Board of Trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools in the district and theflexibility for public schools to administer primary and secondary education efficiently;
HB 1937 – Relating to prosecution and punishment for the offense of official oppression by the intrusive touching of persons seeking access to public buildings and transportation; and
HB 900/SB 308 – Relating to the composition of the congressional districts for the State of Texas.
As you know, certain Senate procedures – such as the two-thirds tradition – exist to bring Democrats and Republicans together, encouraging Members to work in good faith in order to achieve positive outcomes for the people of Texas. Given that a small number of Senate Democrats have demonstrated their unwillingness to find consensus on these important legislative items, I can see no other alternative than to operate under a simple majority vote in the Special Session.
I look forward to working with you and Speaker Straus to finish the important business Texans elected us to accomplish.