House Dems Use Clock to Bury Migrant
Crime Plan and Ten Commandments Bill
May 23, 2023
A Ten Commandments mandate for public schools died of neglect in the Texas House late Tuesday night in a traffic jam that Democrats engineered before a midnight deadline as a way to block a vote on a bill to create a new criminal offense for migrants who enter the state illegally.
The commandmants proposal in Senate Bill 1515 was a casualty of the Democrats' frantic bid to use the clock to bury the migrant punishment measure before time expired for initial votes in the House on proposals that originated across the rotunda.
The harsh penalties for people who cross the Rio Grande between official points of entry had been contained in Senate Bill 2424 - which GOP State Senator Brian Birdwell of Granberry guided through the upper chamber more than a month ago on an exclusive party line vote.
House Democrats warned that the proposal would have made it all but impossible for migrants who've been convicted of the new offense more than once to ever get the chance to seek legal asylum in the U.S. But they appeared to be losing the race against the clock on SB 2424 when it came up tonight for consideration on the floor with ample time for a vote.
The House sponsor - GOP State Rep. Cole Hefner of Mount Pleasant - asked to have the measure postponed to prevent a fight on the floor that would have caused dozens of other bills to perish in pile up of Senate bills at the deadline.
The Senate measures that fell victim to the Democrats' stalling tactics included a pair of proposals by GOP State Senator Joan Huffman of Houston to strengthen the state's bail laws as a major priority for Governor Greg Abbott. The bail reform measures in Senate Bill 1314 and Senate Joint Resolution 44 were postponed at the request of the House sponsor, Republican State Rep. Reggie Smith of Van Alstyne, until September 1.
That raised the specter of a possible special session that Abbott has contemplated for a state date in September. SB 2424 was postponed until June 1 - three days after the regular session adjourns on Monday.
Democrats viewed SB 2424 as their number one target throughout the afternoon and evening with stalling tactics that featured points of order on almost every Senate bill that came up for votes on the floor on Tuesday. The Democrats talked as long as possible on other measures that they opposed in some cases and supported in others with an eye on the long game for SB 2424.
The speaker's team did the Senate Republicans a favor when it buried the Ten Commandments bill low enough on the Tuesday calendar to all but guarantee its demise. The measure would have required public schools to post a customized version of the Ten Commandments on the walls of every classroom in a prominent display. Private schools would have been exempt for no apparent reason.
The Baptist Christian Life Commission turned out to be the commandmants mandate's most important opponent as a group that could see through the proposal as a greedy power grab with massive potential to backfire. \SB 1515 would have inspired children in kindergarten and other early grades to Google words on the Ten Commandment posters like adultery and manservant - a primeval term that's associated with gay sex slavery and bondage in contemporary culture.
The measure raised the bar on religious indoctrination and hypocrisy for a GOP whose own lawmakers have been perpetual violators of some of the commandments that the bill would have forced students to see every day they go to school from kindergarten to the 12th grade.
more to come ...