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AS you are no doubt aware, SB531 (ALAC) was killed in the House Calendars Committee by the treacherous “No” votes of two Republican sponsors of the very same Bill namely Rep Debbie Riddle & Rep Patricia Harless.  

This came as a particular blow not only because the fatal strike came from two of our own sponsors, but also because their “No” votes went against the wishes of the full Senate; the Senate State Affairs Committee; the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee (twice); their own “Aye” votes in the same committee on the identical House Bill (HB562) a few days beforehand; 63 Authors/Sponsors of the Bills and quite likely a large number of their constituents many of whom are ACT ! For America chapter members from the Greater Houston area. 

There are many questions that surround the events of their vote but essentially we can sum them up this way

1. Why would two Republican sponsors of the original HB 562, Rep Harless & Riddle who were listed as sponsors of the Bill they were currently voting on suddenly vote against a bill they had both signed onto and voted Yes for (as an identical House Bill) a few days beforehand?

As a reminder a “Yes” vote by either one of these Representatives would have been sufficient to pass SB531 out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote.

2. Why would Republican Rep. Cook of Palestine/Corsicana who was not a sponsor of the Senate Bill still sit at the meeting and not vote up or down on the bill? 

As a reminder – even with the treachery of Riddle and Harless – a “Yes” vote by him would have resulted in an 8-6 vote and sent SB531 to the House Floor for a vote. He was not a sponsor of HB 562.  

We will let ACT! For America Chapter Members and others in Rep Cooks’ district lead the charge on his accountability, but in Houston, the Houston area Representatives that have betrayed ALAC and their constituents wishes need to be held accountable for their actions by Houstonians.

Rep Riddle issued a very weak and transparently disingenuous press release earlier this week trying to cover her tracks but instead raised more questions than answers.

What follows are some questions we think Rep Riddle should be addressing based on her actions and her deliberately misleading press release.

(The same questions can be posed to Rep Harless but she has – so far – been silent as to her behavior on SB531)

– Who was the person that gave her the information she acted on to kill the Bill. What were their credentials. What was their agenda.

– Even though you may not be her constituent, you have a voice. The enormous importance each State Rep. has in the legislative process and how important each vote is along the way matters. When she voted “No” in the Calendars Committee she was voting “No” for YOU AND ALL TEXANS. Did her vote reflect your wishes?. If not let her know and respectfully let her know that you will do everything in your power to make sure she is held accountable for her vote.

– Why is it at the eleventh hour (literally), GOP Reps. Riddle and Harless adopted reasoning adversarial to our Lieutenant Governor, House Judiciary and Senate State Affairs committees, ten Governors, ten Lieutenant Governors, ten State Chambers and ten House Chambers of ten sister states. What expertise do they suddenly now possess that guide their new found reasoning.

– Why did Rep Riddle choose to ignore the many resources available to her to verify what she had been told. These concerns were not natively hers. She was already a supporter of HB562/SB531 and had been for some time. Did she not listen/hear/read the testimony from the committees that heard these Bills and had already decided these concerns were unfounded. If not why not. (Not having the time to read testimony on every single bill in front of her is a reasonable excuse, – less so if it is a Bill she has attached her name to – but then she has to accept and rely on the decisions coming out of those Committees as having addressed any concerns, otherwise what are those Committees for and why should Committee Members even bother to vote a bill out of their Committee if their decisions are subsequently undermined by those less qualified to decide?) 

-Why did she not reach out to either of the lead Legislators to verify what she had heard. They could have addressed her concerns as unfounded.

– Why did she choose the Calendars Committee as a forum to suddenly dispute the wording of a Bill she had previously agreed to. Surely the appropriate forum for that type of discussion is either from the Floor of the House or in a private exchange with the Bill sponsor to clarify and if necessary craft an Amendment from the Floor to adopt whatever changes are needed.  The ethical implications of killing bills from the Calendars Committee based on an unqualified interpretation of a Bill’s phrasing are quite horrific to contemplate.

– There are many Bills that are changed by subsequent  Legislative sessions if found be be flawed. Why was her solution to kill her own Bill at the last minute and not that ?

– Are these the real reasons you chose to kill ALAC?

– Even though her words say the opposite, by her actions Rep Riddle has now helped to advance the application of foreign laws in Texas courts at the expense of some constitutional rights. In this regards, she is obviously comfortable being on the same side as CAIR in advancing Sharia in Texas.  Is that where she really wants to be?

If you will be contacting Reps Riddle or Harless to discuss these questions, please let us know how they respond.

We will be expanding in depth on some of these unanswered questions and problematic actions of both Rep Riddle and Rep Harless over the next few weeks and months from our website  www.actforamericahouston.com 

Again thank you for your efforts.

Your calls really did make a difference in progressing ALAC this session

We press on and part of that process is to make Legislators account for their actions to Texans, and that those same Legislators  be held accountable for their votes should they not reflect the wishes of the citizens who elected them.

Rep Riddle & Rep Harless should be no different.


One Response

  1. […] yesterday May 30th ACT! For America posted a series of questions on their blog they believe not only Rep. Debbie Riddle should answer, but also Rep. Patricia […]

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