Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I'm a little disturbed by some of the reports I've read of the overzealous efforts of law enforcement officials in trying to track down the Democratic lawmakers who broke the legislative quorum this week. Perhaps most disturbing is a report from the Fort Worth Star Telegram about Rebublicans using part of our new Homeland Defense Anti-Terrorist operations to track down Rep. Pete Laney's Piper airplane. We are spending billions to set up this new Homeland Defense operation and Texas Republicans are using them like their personal stormtroopers to enforce their political dictates.
Then there has been the shameful and excessive use of DPS troopers and Texas Rangers to harass the lawmakers families. One report has a trooper entering a lawmakers home after his daughter left the door open.. Another trooper staked out the hospital where a lawmaker's newborn twins are being treated in intensive care.
Quite frankly these law enforcement officials should get out of this political fight and go back to hunting down real bad guys like we pay them to do. I fully support my lawmakers decision to break the quorum. My interests are not being represented by the group that is left behind in Austin right now and they should not have the power to sick law officers on their political counterparts. It's disgraceful and deeply disturbing.
I understand that some Republicans are upset because they have a majority and feel that therefore they should be able to push through whatever legislation they please, but that is not how our government was set up to work. Our government only works when we are willing to compromise and so far House Speaker Tom Craddick has made it clear that compromise is the furthest thing from his mind.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I loved the response today of New Mexico Attorney General Patricia Madrid when asked by Gov. Rick Perry to track down the missing Texas House Democrats:

"I don't think they are in Santa Fe now. Nevertheless, I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the look out for politicians in favor of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy."

And here is the response of Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry:

"Our position is that, without a warrant signed by a judge, we have no authority. Even under those circumstances, we are hesitant to get pulled into a Texas political battle. If we're going to do battle with Texas, we prefer that it be on the football field," Mr. Henry said through his spokesman.


Monday, May 12, 2003

Hooray for the Killer Bees!
59 of the 62 Democrats in the Texas House have left the state in a bid to break the quorum and kill legislation that the new Republican majority has been cramming through the Lege in a one-sided, partisan fashion. Here are the latest details.
I'm glad to see that the Texas Democrats are finally showing some backbone! We are going to be bombarded for the rest of the week by Republican namecalling, but these lawmakers should be applauded for standing up for their constituents. Republicans are complaining that they never used these extreme tactics when they were in the minority, but what they don't admit is that they still managed to get much of what they wanted while the House was controlled by Democrats. When the Republicans took over earlier this year they made many of the same mistakes as their counterparts at the federal level did 8 years ago under Newt Gingrich. Rather than working with the minority party to reach a bi-partisan consensus on major legislation the way Democrats did for years - they have plowed ahead in a power-hungry bid to get everything they want all at once without compromise. Republicans never opted for the Killer Bee tactic because they were never driven to it the way Democrats have been this year. Conservative Democrats like former House Speaker Pete Laney always gave the Republicans plenty of leeway to keep them happy over the years. Now, the fact that Pete Laney is among the missing is very instructive in how harsh and partisan the House has become under Tom Craddick.