Catching Up on Local Political Stuff

Cops Endorse

I haven’t been a fan of HPOU ever since they supported racial profiling of Latinos for immigration purposes. You see, some of us good liberals never forget. I always hope that some of my favorite candidates vie for the nod then throw it back in their faces. Of course, I’m always disappointed. Earlier this week, some activists protested at HPOU requesting that they not back the current racial profiling law that is being debated in Austin (SB185). The protesters pretty much got the same message as before from the cops.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia continues to be the only prospect for 2015 to take a stand against SB185, which would directly affect HPD and the City of Houston.

Durrel Douglas for AL5

I’m glad to see Durrel Douglas announce for At-Large 5 against Jack Christie. He’s been a good organizer and activist and will have a lot to say during the campaign.  Douglas, an immigration reform supporter, has already proposed enacting a municipal ID as a means of making Houston more welcoming and safer. I’m looking forward to Durrel elevating the political conversation in this town. It is way overdue.

Make sure you attend Durrel Douglas’ kick-off.

Who Will Run on Fighting Corruption?

Because I got sick of it 10 years ago when airport concessions were being debated.

 

 

 

Is He or Isn’t He? The Saga Continues…

adrianWell, there’s nothing official yet, but Schleifer at the Chron cites “sources” as saying that Sheriff Adrian Garcia will announce for Houston Mayor in another month.

Garcia has sent signals over the past six months that he would join the crowded race to replace Mayor Annise Parker, emptying his mostly non-transferable political bank account, commissioning a poll and this past weekend attending a labor-organized policy forum intended for potential candidates for municipal office.

I’m sort of with Kuff on this in that it really is sounding like a broken record; not Garcia’s record player, but everyone elses. But, what if it’s really true?

I’m sure the Democratic freak-outs will continue over the Sheriff’s imminent resignation, leaving the Republican county commissioner’s court to appoint a right-winger to the post. I’m sure none of us wants a right-winger as Sheriff who will roll back any advances Garcia has pushed forward. And for those who have a beef with the Sheriff over his deportation record given his support of 287g and Secure Communities, I’m pretty sure we’ll be debating immigrant tent jails and pink striped jail uniforms soon with a Republican in office. Still, nothing is forever, and if Garcia wants to move on to another position, that’s his right. Who knows? He may become your favorite candidate for Mayor if and once he rolls out his plan for Houston.

I will add that recently, Sheriff Garcia came out against SB185–the legalized racial profiling bill that was debated on Monday. Of all the unofficial and official candidates, Garcia is the only one who has offered a take on a bill that would affect the City of Houston quite negatively.

That said, until I get a embargoed press release from his team, he’s still Houston Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

PDiddie has some questions for the Sheriff.

 

 

 

Inbox: Anti-Immigrant Bill Heard in Senate Subcommittee

Credit: State Senator Sylvia R. Garcia

Since I’ve been busy with my move to another part of Houston, I was unable to take part in the actions today at the Capitol. Thanks to Senator Jose Rodriguez’s staff, we got this e-mail about the Subcommittee hearing on SB185–the racial profiling bill (aka sanctuary cities).

 

AUSTIN – Senate Bill 185, which was heard in the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security today, would outlaw so-called “sanctuary cities” — a term that has not been defined — by prohibiting Texas governmental entities from passing laws to restrict police from asking about immigration status.

The bill affects cities, counties, special districts, and districts attorneys. It exempts school districts and hospital districts, but includes peace officers employed or commissioned by school districts and hospital districts.

S.B. 185 specifically prohibits policies that prohibit:

  • Inquiring into immigration status lawfully detained;
  • Sending or requesting information from U.S. CIS or ICE;
  • Maintaining the information;
  • Exchanging information with other state or federal entities;
  • Assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable or necessary; and
  • Permitting a federal immigration officer to enter and conduct enforcement at a jail.

S.B. 185 provides that any entity in violation shall be denied state grant funds for the following fiscal year after a finding of a violation by a judicial determination. Senator Rodríguez issued the following statement:

Even after today’s lengthy committee hearing, it is still unclear what problem S.B. 185 is attempting to solve. If it’s an attempt to address criminal activity along the border, then we need to better fund local law enforcement, not interfere with local governments’ ability to work with their respective communities. If it’s an attempt to address immigration issues, then that is clearly within the purview of the federal government, not the state.

This bill is a repeat of legislation that was defeated in 2011, and it’s simply bad policy and bad business for our state. I am concerned about the message S.B. 185 sends. Even if it’s not written exactly as Arizona’s S.B. 1070, the intent appears to be the same. The goal seems to be to encourage more local enforcement of immigration laws, and although it could affect anyone, it’s aimed at Texas’ immigrant communities.

With less than eleven weeks left in the legislative session, we have serious business that we need to attend, including passing the budget, school finance, infrastructure and other key governance issues. Yet here we are spending far too much time on legislation that is unwarranted and divisive. I hope that we will prevail as we did in 2011, and the Legislature will demonstrate that Texas is not a “show me your papers” state.

Six major points illustrate why S.B. 185 is bad for Texas:

  1. It seeks to solve a non-existent problem. There is no indication that local law enforcement needs this authority, which is reserved exclusively for the federal government, to keep communities safe. Quite the opposite, as point number two illustrates.
  1. It harms public safety. Today, El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles and El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal spoke out against this legislation because it would undermine law enforcement’s ability to work with immigrant communities and effectively combat cartel activity. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and many other local law enforcement leaders have made similar comments.
  1. It’s bad business for Texas. Similar legislation in Arizona cost $5 million in lost taxes from S.B. 1070 and $135 million in lost economic output. As President/CEO of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce Richard Dayoub testified today, we can’t afford to lose current business or future investors. It also does not make sense to drive workers away from labor-intensive but critical sectors such as construction and agriculture.
  1. It targets children. While S.B. 185 exempts school officials, it includes school peace officers. I’m not one who thinks it makes sense to punish children who are in our communities, regardless of documentation, by pushing them out of school and into the streets.
  1. It has legal consequences that will inevitably lead to racial profiling, and violations of the Equal Protection Clause, the Supremacy Clause and the Fourth Amendment. In fact, the issue already came up in El Paso County, where the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department was sued for pulling passengers off a bus and asking them their immigration status; the lawsuit was settled when the department agreed to establish a written policy and train its officers. Further, it places schools in an untenable position: If their peace officers do not ask immigration questions they could lose state funding, and if they do ask they could be sued in federal court.
  1. It hurts families. So called “sanctuary cities” policies have the potential to divide mixed-status families in Texas. Leading leaders speaking against this legislation today, including the Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Anti-Defamation League, Evangelical Pastors, and numerous other religious orders and clergy members.

And Now We Have Six

Houstonians cannot say that they don’t have candidates to choose from come November–whether they like them or not. CM Stephen Costello, as expected, has tossed his hat in the ring for Houston Mayor. Some expect a few to half-a-dozen more before the deadline.

And, as expected, Costello is running against the recent City-Firefighters Pension deal, which is probably a good position on which to begin, given that another candidate, Sylvester Turner, helped broker the agreement. That’s if you believe this is THE issue. (Kuff has more on the pension deal back and forth.)

As Costello seems to see it, it’s a battle for “local control,” which is something the Republicans at the Texas Lege have turned away from recently. While Costello wants local control for Houstonians to decide on the pension, Republicans have been dead-set on seizing local control from cities who have passed nondiscrimination ordinances.

Local control is local control, so, how Costello navigates between the pension and the NDO (which will be an issue in 2015 one way or another) will be interesting. Whatever the debate on pensions, though, there probably won’t be much of a battle for the firefighters union endorsement this time around.

Of course, there are others in the running, including Chris Bell, Ben Hall, Marty McVey, and Bill King. And from these folks, we’ve seen everything from Pre-K (Bell) to international investment (McVey), to potholes on Kirkwood and elsewhere (King). So, if you’re looking for an issue, someone is bound to offer it up for discussion at a candidate forum.

Who’s next?

 

 

 

Texas Republicans Insist on Racial Profiling Law

tmf185Yep, that didn’t take long.

The Republicans are insisting on a law that legalizes racial profiling for the purpose of local law enforcement playing the role of migra mouse in Texas. In other words, the same law that was passed in Arizona. What was delayed by Democrats this morning is back on the calendar!

Senator Jose Rodriguez had the best point-by-point of how this would just be bad public policy. Read it!

SENATE

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

COMMITTEE:    Veteran Affairs & Military Installations-S/C Border Security

TIME & DATE:  8:00 AM, Monday, March 16, 2015

PLACE:        2E.20 (Betty King Cmte. Rm.)
CHAIR:        Senator Brian Birdwell

SB 185        Perry

Relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities.

 

 

Rodriguez: SB185 is a Rehash of Bill Defeated in 2011

senrdzSenator Jose Rodriguez outlined reasons why SB185, the s0-called “sanctuary cities” bill, is bad public policy. While it’s been delayed, chances are it will be brought back up by the committee.

This bill, a rehash of legislation that was defeated in 2011, is simply bad policy and bad business. I’ve summarized six major points that illustrate why it’s such a time-waster for a Legislature that has important business to take care of — budget and taxes, education funding, access to health care and other key governance issues.

1. It seeks to solve a non-existent problem. There is no indication that local law enforcement needs this authority, which is reserved exclusively for the federal government, to keep communities safe. Quite the opposite, as point number two illustrates. I find this particularly ironic given that it’s being put forth by representatives who claim they are for small government.

2. It harms public safety. In 2011, this legislation was overwhelmingly opposed by county sheriffs and police chiefs. El Paso County Sheriff Wiles spoke out against this legislation because as he stated it would undermine his ability to work with immigrant communities and effectively combat cartel activity. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and many others made similar comments.

3. It’s bad business for Texas. Similar legislation in Arizona cost $5 million in lost taxes from SB 1070 and $135 million in lost economic output. We can’t afford to lose current business or future investors. It also does not make sense to drive workers away from labor-intensive but critical sectors such as construction and agriculture.

4. It targets children. While SB 185 exempts school officials, it includes school peace officers. I’m not one who thinks it makes sense to punish children who are in our communities, regardless of documentation, by pushing them out of school and into the streets.

5. It has legal implications that don’t appear to have been thought through. It will inevitably lead to racial profiling. It is likely to lead to violations of the Equal Protection Clause, the Supremacy Clause and the Fourth Amendment. In fact, the issue already came up in El Paso County, where the El Paso County Sheriffs Department was sued for pulling passengers off a bus and asking them their immigration status; the lawsuit was settled when the department agreed to establish a written policy and train its officers. Further, it places schools in an untenable position: If their peace officers do not ask immigration questions they could lose state funding, and if they do ask they could be sued in federal court.

6. It hurts families. So called “sanctuary cities” policies have the potential to divide mixed-status families in Texas. Leading faith leaders opposing this legislation in 2011 including the Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Christian Life Commission, Texas Impact, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League, Evangelical Pastors, and numerous other religious orders and clergy members.

Only a few days ago, President Obama, in his Selma speech, reminded us of one of our country’s enduring sources of greatness, immigration. The United States of America still is the world’s greatest destination for those yearning to breath free. We need to fix our system to reflect that reality, not punish those who have risked everything to be here.

Inbox: Sens Rodriguez and Garcia Delay Hearing on SB185

DelayedWell, this is good news. It’s obvious Republicans wanted to railroad this through without debate or discussion given that they called the hearing on midday Friday for 8AM Monday. Is this a delay of the inevitable? Hey, nothing should pass without a real debate–and the opportunity to catch some GOP nut-jobs saying something crazy on camera.

Inbox:

AUSTIN – Today, state Sen. José Rodríguez, Chair of the Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC), and state Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia, Vice Chair of the SHC, used a Senate rule to postpone the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security hearing on SB 185, the “sanctuary cities” bill, which was scheduled for 8 a.m. The notice for the hearing was published mid-day Friday, which gave potential witnesses insufficient time to make arrangements to testify at the hearing.

“This bill will have a tremendous impact on families, law enforcement and local government. I heard from a number of elected officials and stakeholders that the timing of the hearing notice did not allow for the type of transparent, open debate necessary for such a wide-ranging measure,” Sen. Rodríguez said.

“Senate Bill 185 has major ramifications to our state – to our public safety, to our economy, to the education of our children, and it takes away local decision-making based on the needs of individual communities. It should be carefully considered. In the past, hundreds of individuals have testified against similar legislation. Yet, a hearing for SB 185 was set with less than 72 hours of notice and over a weekend. It has been extremely difficult to get in touch with my local city, county and school officials over the weekend and to inform constituents who want to share their voice. I am extremely disappointed that my colleagues would try to limit public participation in the legislative process with a maneuver like this,” stated Sen. Garcia.

In 2011, a similar bill to this session’s SB 185, which essentially mandates that local law enforcement take on the role of immigration agents, was heard in Senate Transportation and Homeland Security. Concerned Texans from across the state, including religious leaders, city and law enforcement officials, and community members, came to testify in opposition, but they were told they could not because the bill (then HB 12) no longer contained the sanctuary cities language. The language was added back and the measure passed out of committee, with no opportunity for meaningful public comment.

“Despite these tactics, we were able to stop the bill from becoming law by using the two-thirds rule. Now the concept, which would build walls between law enforcement and Latino communities, is back under consideration in the Texas Legislature,” Sen. Rodríguez said. “Law enforcement officials already have testified that it will hurt their efforts to keep communities safe. City and county officials have made clear it will add costs for training, as well as putting them in the precarious legal position of either potentially violating federal law or violating the state law. Faith leaders, business leaders, community leaders — all have testified to the negative impacts of this legislation.

“The business of the state – budget and taxes, public education, infrastructure, and other key governance issues – requires every bit of attention and energy we have. This kind of proposal, which is unnecessarily divisive and not good public policy, has no place in the Texas Legislature.”

Rainy Monday Read: The TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is all about springing forward as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff sadly reminds a fifth-generation Republican who doesn’t want to lose her Obamacare insurance subsidies that Greg Abbott doesn’t care about her at all.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos heard the President give one of the most memorable and moving speeches of our lifetimes.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to bust the spending cap, without having to pay, politically, for busting the spending cap, GOP Wants To Change The Rules In The Middle Of The Game.

“What the BLEEP happened to hip-hop?” asked PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Texas ranks 43 in the US as a place to live for children. That’s what happens when Republicans run the place. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme says pro-life is just another way to say ‘I’ve got mine, who gives a rats behind about you!”

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Grits for Breakfast applauds Ted Cruz’s flop-flop on marijuana.

The Rivard Report documents the crowded ballot that awaits San Antonio voters this May.

Randy Bear does the same for the charter amendments, and worries about trying to make changes in a low-turnout context.

The Lunch Tray would be happy to have celebrities market vegetables to kids.

Paradise In Hell declares that the real threat to marriage in Texas is serial heterosexuals.

BOR highlights the 2014 Texas League of Conservation Voters National Environmental Scorecard.

Better Texas Blog puts Texas’ Medicaid spending in context.

Texas Clean Air Matters echoes the US military’s call to diversify our energy options and shift more toward a clean energy economy.

Nonsequiteuse calls on Free Press Summerfest acts to speak up about R Kelly being in the lineup.

Texas Vox reports on lobbying efforts to preserve local control.

Sunday Read: TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks the dress is blue and black and that the llamas should get their own TV show as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff notes that Republican hostility to local control doesn’t extend to the proposed high speed rail line, where a bill to give cities and counties a virtual veto over it has been filed.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and a contributor to Daily Kos is not surprised by the Texas Republican’s cruel contempt for immigrant families and Obamacare. TX Gov. Celebrates Busting Up Immigrant Families while U.S. Senator Licks Chops for Gutted Obamacare.

Stace at DosCentavos reports on the League of Women Voters-Houston’s discussion on Low Voter Turnout.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is appalled at the anti-citizen ignorance of McAllen City Commissioner’s candidate, Debbie Crane Aliseda, who equates early voting to voter fraud.  What’s worse?  Other candidates echoed her ignorance.

A hot rumor about Adrian Garcia declaring for mayor of Houston turned out to be only that, but PDiddie at Brains and Eggs — as someone really well-connected once said — “ran the traps on everything”. (A city council candidate did announce at that same breakfast meeting, for whatever that might be worth.)

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. The Texas GOP gutted public education which caused a budget surplus. Instead of putting the money back they want to give it to the wealthy and big business, Doing Away With What They Believe Is Unnecessary.

Neil at All People Have Value took a walk and looked up at the things above him. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some other posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Texas Vox calls for more support for solar energy from the Lege.

Better Texas Blog calculates the cost of cutting the business margins tax.

Juanita has a good laugh over a kerfuffle involving male strippers at an antique show in Fayette County.

Nonsequiteuse would like Republicans to stay out of her bathroom.

Grits for Breakfast recounts how the DPS “border surge” caused an increase in crime elsewhere.

Texas Clean Air Matters reminds us that Texas is very good at energy efficiency and should do more of it.

The TSTA Blog asks if anything will be left for the schools.

Raise Your Hand Texas comments on the filing of quality pre-K bills in the Legislature.

The Lunch Tray is fed up with those photos of “school lunches around the world”.

Randy Bear endorses Mike Villarreal for Mayor of San Antonio.

ALERT: Texas Senate Republicans Set Hearing on Anti-Latino Bill

Republicans have set a hearing to debate and railroad through committee SB 185, a sanctuary cities bill which will allow local and state law enforcement to participate in immigration duties through the practice of racial profiling (frankly, I can’t see how racially profiling Latinos will not happen). Here’s the committee hearing info:

SENATE

NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING

COMMITTEE: Veteran Affairs & Military Installations-S/C Border Security

TIME & DATE: 8:00 AM, Monday, March 09, 2015

PLACE: 2E.20 (Betty King Cmte. Rm.)

CHAIR: Senator Brian Birdwell

The Subcommittee will consider the following:

Relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities.

One can read the bill here. And the bill analysis is here.

Here’s a bit of the explanation:

(f) Provides that, in compliance with Subsection (e), an entity described by Subsection (a) may not prohibit a person employed by or otherwise under the direction or control of the entity from doing any of the following:

(1) inquiring into the immigration status of a person lawfully detained for the investigation of a criminal offense or arrested;

(2) with respect to information relating to the immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any person lawfully detained for the investigation of a criminal offense or arrested:

(A) sending the information to or requesting or receiving the information from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, including information regarding a person’s place of birth;

(B) maintaining the information; or

(C) exchanging the information with another federal, state, or local governmental entity;

(3) assisting or cooperating with a federal immigration officer as reasonable and necessary, including providing enforcement assistance; or

(4) permitting a federal immigration officer to enter and conduct enforcement activities at a municipal or county jail to enforce federal immigration laws.

The law will punish local governments who do not participate in legalized racial profiling by not providing any grant funds the state may give. It all allows citizens to file complaints through the Texas AGs office to punish local governments, too. And even file frivolous lawsuits.

Interesting was that the proposed law would not include school districts, charter schools, or hospital districts; although, a cop working for a hospital district is allowed.

It’s just your usual racist bill from Republicans who have nothing better to do. If you want to go fight it on Monday, send them my regards.

If you want to contact all three members of the Border Security Subcommittee, here’s links to their contact info:  Birdwell, Hall, Lucio.

It’ll get uglier as Republicans have their sights set on Latinos and immigrants this session.