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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bonnen Denounces Obstructionist Behavior on the House Floor

Insider's Report Vol. 7, No. 21

Voter ID opponents running out the clock

Democrats have spent the last five days bringing all business on the House floor to a standstill, hoping today’s midnight deadline will pass without debate on a number of bills.  By spending hours upon hours debating local bills, these House members are holding the entire legislative process hostage.  They have taken these unprecedented steps all in an effort to avoid debate on Voter ID legislation, an issue with overwhelming support across our state.  These diversionary tactics disregard that sixty-nine percent of Texans favor the requirement of a photo ID to cast a ballot.

These legislators spent over 40 hours holding up all bills by asking extraneous questions about purely local and noncontroversial legislation such as bills forming local municipal utility districts and a bill designating the first week of October as Monarch Butterfly Week.  They asked these questions when the bills were brought up initially and then asked many of the same questions again when the bills were brought up later for final passage.  In the past, bills on the Local Calendar received 45-60 seconds of debate on average.  But by intentionally stalling, these House members have wasted nearly nine minutes on each local bill, resulting in a log jam of bills that are of statewide importance.

With these measured efforts, the obstructionists have allowed the House to pass only one major state bill since last Wednesday.  As the clock ticks, the House now has less than twelve hours to pass significant legislative proposals, such as tax exemptions for Veterans, private property protections, windstorm insurance reforms, revisions to our top ten percent admissions procedures, and stronger Voter ID requirements.

As these obstructionists continue to kill important bills, the odds of a special session become greater.  If, as a result of these actions the Governor is forced to call a special session, taxpayers will be footing the bill of $60,000 per day for up to thirty days.  This could result in a $1.8 million tab.

Texans expect and deserve serious representation and not partisan bickering.  I firmly believe that my constituents sent me to Austin to debate the major issues that impact our great state and to enact effective solutions.  It is with this in mind that I will continue my efforts to ensure you have a voice in this process.