And another so-called legislative emergency gets voted on.
Legislation banning “sanctuary city” policies in Texas was voted out of the House State Affairs Committee today, sending the bill to the full House for consideration.
HB12 by Rep. Burt Solomons would prevent cities, counties and other governmental entities from adopting policies that prohibit law enforcement from asking a person legally detained or arrested their immigration status. The legislation was labeled an emergency item by Gov. Rick Perry in January. Under the bill, entities refusing to comply risk losing state funds.
Solomons presented the committee, with its nine Republicans and four Democrats, a substitute bill he said would address concerns raised about how the original bill would affect school districts. State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, originally objected to their inclusion, alleging that allowing school district employees to inquire about a student’s status would violate federal law. A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1982’s Plyler V. Doe ruled that a school district could not deny funding to a school that educated undocumented immigrants. Oliveira said denying education to any student also contradicts the Texas Constitution. Solomons removed school district employees in his substitute, but the bill would still apply to campus police officers. Oliveira tried but failed to amend the bill to remove school districts altogether.
Here’s HB12, a bill that solves no problems but causes plenty, and contains that great legislative fiction, a fiscal note that claims “no impact” on the state budget. What impact it will have on city and county budgets, the Lege isn’t required to say and for sure Gov. Perry doesn’t care. It’s all about the optics. There’s absolutely no reason for any Democrat to support this bill, so by all rights it ought to wither and die in the Senate. I sure hope it does.