Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bad Big Brother Bill Just Won't Die

I reported that HB 13, the Governor's homeland security bill, was dead, but I was premature. The Texas Observer blog says that many of HB 13's most objectionable aspects were added in a conference committee to an unrelated homeland security bill, SB 11, which Grits also opposed on different grounds.

Because Rep. Frank Corte added the language in a conference committee that went "outside the bounds" of the original bill, SB 11 will require a 2/3 vote to approve the conferee's report. I hope House members secure bipartisan support to shoot the bill down - at this point IMO the bill actually reduces public safety (by letting politicians conceal their security failures) and gives the Governor and his political operatives too much power to access criminal intelligence data and operate his massive Big Brother TDEX database.

House members, please, don't let leadership strong-arm you into supporting yet another bad bill: Vote down SB 11 when its conference report comes before you today.

UPDATE: This is one of the bills NOT finally approved when 56 House members walked out last evening to protest the Speaker. The House can suspend the rules to take these bills up today, assuming they can make a quorum, so I'll update when we have the denouement.

BAD NEWS! The modified SB 11 passed - Rep. Noriega gave a speech saying that despite the concerns raised, the bill had some good things in it and he feared a vote against it would be used against Democrats to say they didn't want to fight terrorism. That argument seemed to sway the day. Only 20 members voted against the motion to go outside the bounds on this bill, and Rep. Abel Herrero, who valiantly fought the bill throughout session, inexplicably backed off a point of order that would have killed it at the very last minute to allow the bill to pass. Now it goes to the Governor, where the chance of veto is nil (these were his bills).

See prior, related Grits coverage:


Anonymous said...

I guess it is an aspect of Republican arrogance and stupidity, but do they think there will never, ever again be a Democratic governor of Texas? Why else would they be creating a program with such a huge potential for abuse by ANY governor?

Steve-O said...

I guess that sound I just heard was Rick Perry opening my mail.