Tag Archives: Texas house

Local TX House Delegation Asks Harris Co to Join SB4 Lawsuit

A group of Houston Texas House members has penned a letter to the Harris County Commissioner’s Court requesting they join the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB4–the “Show Me Your Papers” racial profiling law signed by Greg Abbott.

Texas House members include:  Alma Allen, Carol Alvarado, Garnet Coleman, Harold Dutton, Jessica Farrar, Ana Hernandez, Jarvis Johnson, Mary Ann Perez, Ron Reynolds, Shawn Thierry, Senfronia Thompson, Hubert Vo, Armando Walle, and Gene Wu.

Pointing to various constitutional flaws in the law, the group also made a case for the lawsuit citing the law’s threat to public safety:

With the fifth largest foreign born population in the country, Harris County is especially at risk. All people in the community must feel safe and free to report crime and call law enforcement when necessary, without the fear of the same law enforcement asking for their papers. The provisions of SB4 will diminish trust and chill the reporting of crime, making our county less safe.

The letter further states the constitutional liability the county could face for unlawfully detaining individuals without warrant or probably cause.

Already, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and the tiny town of El Cenizo, along with Bexar, El Paso, and Maverick counties have joined the lawsuit. Efforts have increased to add more parties to the lawsuit, including Brownsville, Pasadena, and other Texas communities.

For the latest on the lawsuit, head over to MALDEF’s twitter feed for the latest arguments being made by the good guys and the bad guys at the federal court hearing in San Antonio.

Thanks to the office of State Representative Armando Walle for keeping us informed and for their work on these efforts. [copy of letter below]

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Chron Endorses Wu in HD-137

And DosCentavos agrees wholeheartedly with the Chron.

District 137: Gene Wu

When the federal government announced that it would start resettling Syrian refugees in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott looked at the fleeing families and saw a dangerous threat. State Rep. Gene Wu saw his next constituents. His southwest Houston district of Gulfton and Sharpstown might as well be the Ellis Island of Houston, serving as home to the waves of immigrants that come to our nation in search of freedom and safety. Burmese, Afghani, Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, Libyans – Wu can tick off the timeline of new arrivals over the past several years. He knows who they are and knows he’ll be there to help. In the Legislature, he worked to pass an important bill that protected children who were victims of human trafficking, directing them to Child Protective Services instead of jail. And as a former Harris County prosecutor, he’s an important figure in the criminal justice debates in Austin.

I have nothing but respect for my State Rep. Gene Wu. He has represented us well and deserves another term–several more, if he wants them–in Austin. Along with his hard work, he has a great and responsive staff that is always available to help constituents when needed. The political reality for Democrats in Austin is bleak at times, so, we need Gene Wu there to not only get results for us, but to stand up for what is right.

Early voting begins on February 16 and goes on until February 26. Democratic Primary Day is March 1.

Perez, Lopez Hit The Ground Running

There are a couple of races that this blogger will keep an eye on and both are in the ‘burbs. Educator Amy Perez is running for Texas House District 150 with the intent to end the political career of Debbie Riddle, while Luis Lopez is running for the open seat for Texas House District 132.

Amy Perez, a highly recognized educator, has assembled quite a campaign team for her race for HD 150 and has earned some media attention during the last couple of weeks, including in the paper that probably lands on Debbie Riddle’s yard. She has begun to make the rounds all over District 150 and is getting even more attention on Facebook.

Equally active is the candidate for HD-132, Luis Lopez, who has quickly amassed over 700 “likes” on Facebook, outdoing three of the Tea Party candidates, and on the heels of another. The accountant from Katy has also assembled a campaign team which has hit the ground running and has been making the rounds.

Both teams are running impressive grassroots campaigns and need all the help they can get from inside and outside of the district. Debbie Riddle is quickly wearing out her welcome in her district as she continues to attack poor children and public education, while HD-132 provides an opportunity for change as an open seat. As the suburbs become more diverse, there is a need for representatives who recognize that diversity and will be representative of that diversity, especially on issues of education, public safety, and economic development.

Follow their campaigns on Facebook for the latest. Best of luck to Amy and Luis.

Action Alert: Sen. Garcia on Senate Select Committee on Redistricting

Inbox ~ From State Senator Sylvia Garcia:

After completing my first Legislative Regular Session, I am very proud of what my team and I were able to achieve in such a short amount of time.

However, our work is not done. On the same day that the regular session ended, Governor Perry called a Special Session on Redistricting with specific instructions to adopt the interim court-drawn maps for the State House of Representatives, State Senate, and U.S. Congressional Districts.

I am honored to have been appointed by Lt. Governor Dewhurst to serve on the Senate Select Committee on Redistricting.  I am committed to working for a fair set of maps that best represents the voting rights of minorities and that the redistricting process is open and transparent.

Texas has a long history of discrimination in voting rights that unfortunately continues today. This is why a special provision of the Voting Rights Act, known as Section 5,  was enacted to protect minorities against discriminatory voting laws before they get enacted in states like Texas that continue to pass laws that are aimed at diluting minority political access. Regrettably, the Texas Attorney General has filed litigation to remove these protections, while also trying to implement discriminatory redistricting maps and laws, like last session’s photo id law.   It’s important to let the Texas leadership and the Attorney General know we are watching them and will continue to fight for the protection of voting rights.

Opportunities to Make Your Voice Heard

Wednesday, June 5, 2013:  
Community Briefing related to redistricting at the East Aldine District Offices located to discuss the redistricting process and give valuable input to take back to Austin.
5333 Aldine Mail Route Road,
Houston, TX 77093
8:00 AM to 9:00AM

Legislative Public Hearings to share your thoughts on the redistricting maps
June 1 , 2013: House Select Committee on Redistricting,  9:00 A.M. Capitol Building in Austin, Extension Auditorium, E1.004

June 6, 2013: Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, 9:00 A.M. Capitol Building in Austin, Senate Finance Committee Room, E1.036

June 12, 2013: Senate Select Committee on Redistricting, 9:00 A.M. Capitol Building in Austin, Senate Finance Committee Room, E1.036

For those that cannot make these events, but want to provide additional input on the redistricting maps please contact my General Counsel, Luis Figueroa atLuis.Figueroa@state.senate.tx.us.

Los Favorit@s del Lege

Well, the Trib had their online vote and the final tally left me wanting more of my favorites to be in the Top 10. Oh, well. Here’s my Top 5.

  • State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer – As the chief of the Mexican American Lege Caucus, he pulled off a Ramon Ayala concert at the Capitol with 8,000 in attendance to celebrate MALC’s 40 years of fighting for what’s right, while also representing his district and everyone else. Plus, his office kept me happy with plenty of commentary and press releases on the latest Lege stuff.
  • State Rep. Armando Walle – No, not because I like the guy, but because he, along with my own State Rep, Gene Wu, kept us all very informed with their Twitter play-by-play. They even earned an attempt at an SB1 motion to instruct to keep twitter use at a minimum. Of course, that didn’t stop them.
  • State Senator Sylvia Garcia – Because she hit the ground running despite Rick Perry’s delays. She put together a good staff that worked hard from the get-go. Kudos to the Senator and her staff.
  • State Senator Rodney Ellis – He’s another one that keeps us well-informed, and not just about his bike rides. His work on the Morton Act which ensures all evidence in a criminal case is revealed, is quite commendable–and it’s the law now. No complaints about my State Senator.
  • Honorable Mention – State Rep. Roberto Alonzo – He’s a fellow liberal from Cristal (my hometown). What other reason do you want?

And thanks to Rick Perry and David Dewhurst and their insistence on a Special Session, all Republicans end up in a tie for first as least favorites. (No surprise, right?)

I just thought I’d add my own favorit@s list since it seems to be the thing. This is the first Lege session in which I actually had two Democrats representing me in Austin. After a decade of Tommy Williams, Joe Crabb, and Dan Huberty, I must say it was a well-earned relief.

 

 

Texas House Will Vote on Budget on April 4

The House Appropriations Committee approved a budget that gives an extra $2.5 billion to K-12 education, but is $1.7 billion smaller than the Senate’s budget. So, where does that leave everything else?

Like the Senate budget, the House budget includes increases in mental health funding and graduate medical education.

BUT, according to the Trib:

Full details of the budget the Appropriations Committee voted on were not available on Thursday afternoon. Pitts and House Appropriations staff could not say when they would be publicly released.

So, forgive me for not dancing for joy at the extra K-12 money. I worry more about higher education since colleges and universities are going to try to salvage those students who came out of K-12 underprepared for college with a billion dollars less in the last session.

Can’t wait for the details! For now…

Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said he hopes to bring the bill to the House floor on April 4 and expressed optimism that the bill will get strong support.