See Interview with Texas State Representative James White at end of this Article
Texas State Rep White Says AWOL Members of State Affairs Committee are Holding Up Voting in Special Session Over a Sanctuary Cities Standoff. Plus he says that the Texas Legislature on Monday might only pass an Anti Groping “resolution” instead of a bill. I guess I am not surprised when Rep White told me this because, after all, Speaker Joe Straus will personally not allow an anti groping bill go to the floor for a vote and has even openly mocked the Majority of Texans by calling it a “publicity stunt.”
In my previous article, see here, I reported that there is a standoff in the Texas Legislature. There were over 50 State Representatives missing in action on Friday June 24th and the Special Session had to come to a halt because there was not a Quorum. A State Representative source told me that as long as SB 9 (the Sanctuary Cities Bill) was in play, many State Reps would not show up and there would not be a quorum.
The TSA Anti Groping Bill is being considered as a reason for the standoff. This is just not true. The TSA bill is being used as a distraction to keep from people seeing the real issue which is a standoff over the Sanctuary Cities Bill.
Today I spoke with State Rep James White and he confirmed that the standoff is over the Sanctuary Cities Bill and the talk about the standoff being over the TSA bill is just a distraction from the Sanctuary Cities battle because the majority of the House supports the TSA legislation. He went on to explain that the standoff is even simpler than I originally thought. The Standoff, and the reason why the Special Session has come to a halt, is originating out of the State Affairs Committee.
Before the House Session began on Friday, there was to be a State Affairs Committee meeting earlier Friday morning. Several members of the State Affairs Committee did not show up on Friday morning and that prevented that State Affairs Committee Meeting from having a quorum. When the State Affairs Committee did not have a quorum the 8:45 AM committee meeting was cancelled. This carried over into the 10AM House session with the Speaker of the House having to adjourn on Friday because there was not a quorum. But it all started earlier that morning in the State Affairs Committee. If the members of the State Affairs Committee showed up to do their job by getting these bills out of the State Affairs Committee, then the rest of the Texas State Reps would have been there too.
So what was on the agenda for Friday that caused members of the State Affairs Committee to not show up and prevent a Quorum? The State Affairs Committee was to consider pending business (the Sanctuary Cities Bill) on Friday Morning.
So that is it folks. The Standoff is most certainly over the Sanctuary Cities Bill and is has been narrowed down to originating out of the State Affairs Committee
So what happens next? Well, Monday the State Affairs Committee has scheduled a meeting to discuss the TSA Anti Groping legislation. Don’t get too excited though, the Speaker of the House Joe Straus has personally killed that bill and mocked the majority of Texans by calling the anti groping bill a “publicity stunt”, so what will be proposed in the Monday meeting will not be an anti groping bill and instead will only be an anti groping “resolution”. Yep, if this anti groping resolution passes we are gonna really stand up to the TSA by “passing a resolution that will tell the TSA that we are not happy with them”
It is interesting to note that the Monday Meeting does not include taking up their pending business, also known as the Sanctuary cities bill. The picture is starting to get clearer.
But, even though the Sanctuary Cities Bill has not been put on the agenda for Monday, the bill could still be brought up when the State Affairs Committee meets on Monday when they take up the TSA Resolution.
One of two things will happen Monday. The State Affairs Committee members will continue to have a standoff to prevent a quorum and there will not be a State Affairs Committee meeting on Monday, OR the State Affairs Committee members will actually show up and swiftly pass the weak, do nothing TSA Anti Groping Resolution but then adjourn before the Sanctuary Cities bill can be brought back up.
Even if the Sanctuary Cities Bill does not make it out of Committee, it is still sure to get interesting because there is talk that a State Rep will add the Sanctuary Cities Legislation onto SB1 as an amendment with no debate and just an up or down vote.
East Texas State Rep James White was elected as a conservative, no nonsense, get things done kind of guy. After I heard about the standoff I knew I could call him and he would give me a straight forward opinion of what is going on without trying to just make a biased attack against any other State Reps.
Here is my Full Interview with State Representative James White:
David Bellow: What important legislation do we still have on the table?
James White: SB 1 is the big fiscal matters bill that will help ensure that our budget is certified and that schools are funded. SB 9 Sanctuary Cities bill. Many East Texas are very concerned with safety in their communities and on the border. TSA anti groping bill. People elected last election as a statement that they want us to push back against excessive federal abuse and the TSA groping is certainly an abuse of federal power and East Texans want us to stand up against it. SB 7 is the healthcare fiscal bill that is important because it has the healthcare compact provision in it to allow Texas to opt out of Obamacare and form our own health care system that works for Texas. Basically the bills we have left are the ones that push back against big Federal Government.
David Bellow: When will the TSA Bill and the Sanctuary Cities bill get to the house floor for an up or down vote?
James White: The TSA bill made it out of committee and will most certainly get passed if brought to the floor for an up or down vote. You have to understand that there is not really any opposition to the TSA bill from the members of the Texas House of Representatives because it passed nearly unanimously this year out of the house, it is very popular with constituents, and over 100 state reps are sponsors of the bill.
The Sanctuary cities bill is held up in the State Affairs Committee. The committee heard testimony on the bill earlier in the week and was supposed to finish taking up the Sanctuary Cities Bill on Friday June 24th but they didn’t.
David Bellow: Why didn’t they take up the bill on Friday?
James White: They did not take up the bill on Friday because the State Affairs Committee did not have a quorum and cancelled the meeting.
David Bellow: Do you believe that there are members of the State Affairs Committee who purposely did not show up because they do not want to sanctuary cities bill to get passed?
James White: Yes I do. This Sanctuary Cities Bill is what is causing the most turmoil behind the scenes in the House.
David Bellow: So what is coming up next?
James White: Monday the State Affairs Committee will hear a proposed resolution, HCR 5, against TSA groping. They will not be considering an Anti Groping Law and will only be considering a Resolution. A resolution does not have the backing of the law and is only a statement
If the State Affairs Committee meets on Monday to do this resolution then they have an obligation to also finish up the Sanctuary Cities Bill but I do not think that will happen.
If the State Affairs Committee does not pass the Sanctuary Cities Bill then a possible Sanctuary Cities Amendment could be tagged onto SB 1 and would be an up or down vote with no discussion.
All of this boils down to the members of the State Affairs Committee. They are hand picked by and will follow the directives of the Speaker of the House. This is one of the most important committees and the Speaker could ask them to do something and they will do it. But they are not doing anything, and unless these State Reps have VERY important matters they need to attend to, they have an obligation to be here and finish business.
David Bellow: Is there anything else you would like to add?
James White: I was one of the first signers onto the TSA Anti Groping Bill. I am a former Infantry Officer so I know about security. Some of the things we are doing in airports is just downright wrong and not more effective than other less intrusive measures. This is Texas! How is it possible that we have non elected bureaucrats telling us what we can and cannot do? This non elected bureaucrat thinks he is going to tell 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives what we can and cannot do? We have to stand up against this. When I was sworn in I swore to uphold the US Constitution AND the State Constitution. East Texans are mad and they cannot understand why TEXAS State Reps are backing down and letting out State Constitution be run over by these appointed, non elected officials.
David Bellow: Thank you for taking time to let us know what is going on!
James White: You’re Welcome.