POSTED: Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 8:54am
UPDATED: Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 5:28pm
Longview, TX — The airport pat-down bill could not overcome a procedural hurdle Wednesday in the Texas House as hostile words over a Longview freshman’s bill colored the final hours of the 82nd Legislature.
Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, needed 120 out of 124 lawmakers who remained at work that morning to bring his bill outlawing intrusive passenger searches up for a vote. He got 96, but said he was not surprised given the way the deck had been stacked by the dealers — fellow Republicans Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus.
“All three of them at least at three junctures showed what they really believed,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “The governor was either ignorant or misinformed or did not tell the truth when that man talked to him at the book table.”
Perry, on a Florida book-signing stop earlier this month, told a man, who caught him on video, that the bill did not have the votes or time to pass despite 112 House co-authors and two weeks remaining in the special session.
Simpson gave an angry speech just before the House adjourned, accusing his fellow politicians of hypocrisy, violating the Bible’s 9th Commandment against bearing false witness and misleading the public about the real implications of the state budget. He also singled out Straus for killing the bill behind the scenes
“Politics has a lot in common with fairy tales, in both arenas you have to suspend rational faculties in order to comprehend what is going on,” Simpson said. “Rarely in the history of this Legislature has, to my knowledge, the state’s leadership so masterly worked against the will of its members and the people they represent. Leadership arranged it so that every member could cast a vote in support of a bill they would ensure would not pass.”
The governor’s office received more than 10,000 phone calls, emails or other correspondence in favor of Simpson’s bill from May 16 through June 20, a News-Journal open records request revealed. There were 13 messages against the measure.
Dewhurst “blinked,” Simpson said, when federal authorities threatened to ground flights on account of the bill. And Straus on Friday called the bill a mockery before giving it a green light Monday.
That light turned bright yellow on Tuesday when it passed on second reading, but because of House rules, it could not be taken up until Wednesday and needed a four-fifths majority. Simpson tried to maneuver it to passage by substituting the Senate version.
That didn’t please a super majority.
Read the full story here.