Are you a constituent of Rep. Debbie Riddle and would you like to let her know your displeasure regarding her treacherous vote on the Texas American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) bill? At 7 p.m. tonight she will be speaking at a gathering of constituents at the MUD #24 Harold R. Brick Meeting Facility, 17035 Deer Creek Dr, Spring, Texas 77379 (corner of Oakwood Glen Blvd & Deer Creek Dr., under the blue & yellow water tower off Spring Steubner north of Louetta).
We have received a report that Rep. Debbie Riddle offered an explanations at a public meeting in Houston at the beginning of July for her treacherous vote on the Texas ALAC bill during the 84th Texas Legislative session.
ALAC was developed by top constitutional scholars and has been signed into law in 10 states. Rep. Jeff Leach carefully and conscientiously worked on Texas ALAC for two years, working closely with the legal scholars who developed the law. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office had vetted the bill and was very much in favor. According to Trayce Bradford with Texas Eagle Forum, “ALAC has encountered broad support across the state from numerous grassroots organizations along with a broad coalition of security, constitutional and legal policy organizations. During the 84th Legislative Session, ALAC garnered strong support in the Texas House with over 50 bill Co-Sponsors and was listed as one of the priorities of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s Grassroots Advisory Board.” House and Senate committees had both pass the ALAC bills on to the Calendars Committee.
The moderator asked Riddle to explain her reasons for killing the ALAC bill. Riddle launched into a defensive, combative & unapologetic sermon about being salt & light, not doing the politically expedient or politically correct thing, and about “doing what is right in line with her character” as salt. She said the bill “sounded good on its face,” but she admitted to not having read it when it was first introduced or when she agreed to be a co-sponsor. She said she began receiving calls from unnamed judges & attorneys who warned her there was ambiguity in the language of the statute, specifically the terms public policy, natural justice and good morals. She said her action on the day of the calendars meeting was based on the info she had, the facts she knew & her decision to risk doing the right thing.
Further Rep. Riddle stated that “it takes time to perfect legislation” and that the law would have been challenged in court, “making us look stupid.” She asserted that the claim that 13 states have passed this legislation is “a lie” and that only five have passed it, and the definition of public policy in those statutes were consistent with the U.S. Constitution. She closed her remarks by telling the audience she was the daughter of a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima and who taught her to never back down from a fight “when you know you’re right.”
Each legislator was allotted 10 min to voluntarily answer one question from the moderator, then speak about anything else from the session. Rep. Riddle was the last to speak, and she spent the majority of her allotted time on the ALAC question. At the end of the meeting, one last question was directed at all five of the legislators: “What was the worse bill you killed?” When it was her turn, Rep. Riddle said it was the ALAC bill. She expounded by saying she didn’t oppose the concept and that she would like to see it introduced in the next session “tightened up” so it can “overcome court challenges.” Her two statements of support were almost an after-thought.
As the meeting was drawing to a close, Rep. Riddle addressed the gathering with an anecdote from the 84th legislative session. It does not address the ALAC bill, but is included because it is telling about the way Riddle conducts business and to whom she may have become indebted in those final moments in the Calendar Committee. She recounted how on the last day of Calendars, she cast her vote in favor of a bill she mistakenly thought was pro-life (she did not identify the bill). After she cast her vote, she said she re-read the bill and realized she had made an egregious error, claiming the bill was pro-abortion. She rushed to the Speaker (Straus) and told him she made a mistake and needed to reconsider her vote. She said the Speaker agreed to break the rules, call the legislators back, gather a quorum and the bill was voted on again. Riddle further admitted that this could have put the next day’s calendar at risk if someone had called for a point of order. She praised Speaker Straus and patted herself on the back for killing an abortion bill.
Upon further research, we learned the bill to which she was referring was SB 575, a decidedly pro-life bill, and not a pro-abortion bill as she claimed. The vote in Calendars Committee on this bill was taken immediately before the ALAC bill. Her first vote was Nay, and not Yes, as she claimed in the retelling. Rep. Riddle twisted the facts of these events completely opposite from the true sequence of the events and the nature of the bill.
This anecdote leaves us with the impression Riddle may have been indebted to Speaker Straus for allowing her to recast a vote, one she would not have been able to justify to her pro-life constituents back home. One wonders what concession Speaker Straus extracted to acquiesce to her request? We have it on reliable source that Speaker Straus said that ALAC will not pass as long as he is the Speaker. This account of events begs the question—did ALAC get thrown under the bus so Rep. Riddle could cover her poor performance on a pro-life bill?
This story also highlights that Rep. Riddle does a poor job of reading or understanding the bills she sponsors & votes on. In early March 2015, word had reached constituents that Riddle & Harless (who also voted to kill the bill in the Calendar Committee) were saying the Texas ALAC law was unnecessary—if that was the case, one wonders why they both agreed to be co-sponsors in the first place? Why not rescind their co-sponsorship at that point or bring up objections when there was still time to debate & possibly amend the bill, if needed? Why wait until the last possible moment and kill the bill in such an underhanded & treacherous manner?
Why did she think it appropriate for her to decide she should kill the bill without discussing it with the sponsors? What happened the day of the calendars meeting that caused her to change her vote; who influenced her? She must be aware that this is a women’s rights issue and how does she feel about being personally responsible for ALAC not being law in Texas?
For more on what happened to the Texas ALAC bill, see:
http://www.ragingelephantsradio.com/archives/heidi-hansing/ (scroll down to May 26 & listen)
Filed under: American Laws for American Courts (ALAC), Debbie Riddle, Patricia Harless, Texas legislature, Treachery | Tagged: ALAC, Islam, Representative Debbie Riddle, Representative Patricia Harless, Treachery |