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Government/Politics

Lawmakers Rush To Address Ethics And Gun Legislation

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Ryan E. Poppe

The end of the legislative session is less than a week away and lawmakers are moving quickly to keep bills they support alive.  Tuesday was a frenzied day as legislators waded through pages of parliamentary delay tactics tagged for some of the more controversial bills.

At the start of the day there was a laundry list of bills, all of which required a vote in the House or face sudden death.   And it was clear from the start; it was going to be a slow and drawn out bumpy ride.

An ethics reform bill deemed an emergency item by the Governor drew a lot tension following changes to the bill that would not only require so-called Dark Money groups report their financial dealings to the state but it would also prohibit the secret taping of lawmakers at the state capitol that is connected to some of these same political non-profits.   Those changes angered Tea Party Republicans like Tyler Rep. Matt Schaffer.

“I believe that sunshine is a great disinfectant and I believe the current law that we have is a good one. It causes us to accountable when we speak, we all say things that we shouldn’t at times, but the current law makes it so we guard our tongue a whole lot more,” Schaffer said.

The bill would also require all governor appointees to reveal their political contributions before taking office.  

Delay tactics used to kill a vote on bills seemed to work for those fighting against a bill that would drop insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act for abortion, but did not stall a debate on a bill that would allow licensed gun owners to carry their handguns concealed on a college campus.

Pasadena Republican Allen Fletcher is the House sponsor of the bill.

“The young women that park their car at night to take classes that are trying to better themselves after working all day to go into class. If we make them leave their gun and leave themselves unprotected, that’s not fair,” Fletcher stressed.

The House did leave a provision that was added by the senate that bans gun owners from openly holstering their handgun while on campus but not before changing amending the bill so that private universities would no longer be able to opt out of the law, should the governor sign the bill.  So far the governor has signed 150-bills into law, they include an effort to prohibit cities from banning fracking, a 30-million dollar restoration project for the Alamo complex and a bill that sets up teacher reading and math academies to bring students up to grade level in elementary school.