Thursday, April 12, 2007

Texas House Debates Identity Politics

Hurray!! Amazing!!!!!

After a rare and astonishing 3rd reading debate, the Texas House this morning rejected Dianne Delisi's HB 855 expanding the offense of failure to identify (discussed by Grits here, here, and here) by an overwhelming vote - just 23 in favor, and 116 against! What a terrific legislative moment - a rare occasion when public debate on the floor actually changed hearts and minds at the eleventh hour, killing a truly bad bill that offended both reason and liberty.

I turned it on late so I didn't hear all the debate this morning, but I was pleased to find Reps Turner, Chavez, Hodge, Castro, Olivo, Coleman, Dukes, Puente, Farias, Alonzo, Escobar, Bolton, Miles, Veasey, Giddings, and most especially Senfronia Thompson and Harold Dutton all doing a great job poking holes in Rep. Delisi's bit of authoritarian flotsam. An important turning point was Republican Dwayne Bohac declaring he would switch his vote and oppose the bill because he'd rather err on the side of protecting civil liberties.

I'd encourage those interested in hearing a genuine democratic debate over an important civil liberties question to watch the debate Tuesday (4/10), yesterday (4/11), and especially today (4/12 beginning at 1 hour and 53 minutes into the video). Archived Texas House chamber broadcasts are linked here.

Thank you to the 116 members who opposed HB 855, on behalf of this blog and really the entire state of Texas.

UPDATE: See more from Inside the Texas Capitol, from Postcards from the Lege, the Texas Observer blog, Rep. Thompson's The Little Dog Report, the Dallas News, the Houston Chronicle, the Austin Statesman, and from AP.

Here are the ayes and nays from the vote. This was an important moment when legislators from both parties stood up to police unions and prosecutors to do the right thing, and they deserve and need affirmation from their constituents so they'll be willing to do it again. If you don't know who your representative is you can find out here. Contact their office and either thank them for doing the right thing or scold them for voting to chip away at Texans' civil liberties:


Aycock(R); Berman(R); Bonnen(R); Brown, Betty(R); Chisum(R); Christian(R); Crabb(R); Crownover(R); Delisi(R); Driver(R); Frost(D); Herrero(D); Jackson, Jim(R); Kolkhorst(R); Menendez(D); Otto(R); Phillips(R); Riddle(R); Talton(R); West, Buddy(R); Woolley(R); Zedler(R); Zerwas(R)


Allen, Alma(D); Alonzo(D); Anchia(D); Bailey(D); Bohac(R); Bolton(D); Brown, Fred(R); Burnam(D); Callegari(R); Castro(D); Chavez(D); Cohen(D); Coleman(D); Cook, Byron(R); Cook, Robby(D); Corte(R); Creighton(R); Darby(R); Davis, John(R); Davis, Yvonne(D); Deshotel(D); Dukes(D); Dunnam(D); Dutton(D); Eiland(D); Eissler(R); Elkins(R); England(R); Escobar(D); Farabee(D); Farias(D); Farrar(D); Flores(D); Flynn(R); Gallego(D); Garcia(D); Geren(R); Giddings(D); Gonzales(D); Gonzalez Toureilles(D); Goolsby(R); Guillen(D); Haggerty(R); Hamilton(R); Hancock(R); Hardcastle(R); Harless(R); Harper-Brown(R); Heflin(D); Hernandez(D); Hilderbran(R); Hill(R); Hochberg(D); Hodge(D); Homer(D); Hopson(D); Howard, Charlie(R); Howard, Donna(D); Hughes(R); Isett(R); Keffer(R); King, Susan(R); King, Tracy(D); Krusee(R); Kuempel(R); Latham(R); Laubenberg(R); Leibowitz(D); Lucio(D); Macias(R); Madden(R); Mallory Caraway(D); Martinez(D); Martinez Fischer(D); McCall(R); McClendon(D); McReynolds(D); Merritt(R); Miles(D); Morrison(R); Mowery(R); Naishtat(D); Noriega(D); O'Day(R); Oliveira(D); Olivo(D); Orr(R); Ortiz(D); Parker(R); Patrick, Diane(R); Paxton(R); Pena(D); Pickett(D); Pierson(D); Pitts(R); Puente(D); Quintanilla(D); Raymond(D); Ritter(D); Rodriguez(D); Rose(D); Smith, Todd(R); Smith, Wayne(R); Smithee(R); Solomons(R); Strama(D); Straus(R); Swinford(R); Taylor(R); Thompson(D); Truitt(R); Turner(D); Vaught(D); Veasey(D); Villarreal(D); Vo(D)


Catonya said...


Kudos to the Reps for protecting civil rights!!! Thank you. :)

(off to send those notes of appreciation)

Nick said...

Hurray for civil rights, and hurray for the house highlight of Texas's continuing problem with racism.