A Republican state leader fulfilled her promise to file Arizona type legislation bills and was first in line to introduce seven bills in Austin.
State Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Republican from Austin, filed the most controversial bill, HB 17. That creates an offense of criminal trespass and allows the arrest by state and local police officers.
She released a statement from her website after spending two days sleeping on the floor at the State Capitol Building.
“My constituents want to see that their representative is just as serious about getting the job done this session as they are,” Riddle said. “They’ve got a real fire in their bellies, and I’m here to show them that I’m ready to match that tenacity.”
Riddle also filed HB 16, a voter id proposal. If passed, it would require a voter to show one form of a photo identification along with two other forms of id to vote in Texas.
“Voter ID has got to be one of the top priorities of the legislature this session.” Riddle said in her press release. “It passed in the House two session ago and was stalled by politics in the Senate. It passed in the Senate last year and then was stalled by politics in the House. There are no more excuses left this time around.”
Other bills included: HB 18, imposing sanctions for municipalities that allow “sanctuary cities;” HB 19, which seeks to imprison unlicensed drivers who cause serious accidents; HB 22, requiring all state agencies to determine and report their costs related to illegal aliens; HB 21, requiring school districts to report the number of illegal aliens attending their schools; and HB 20, increasing the penalty for burglary of a motor vehicle to a state jail felony.
Newly elected GOP State Representative Raul Torres from Corpus Christi wasn’t familiar with the bills on the first day of filing and wouldn’t comment, if he supported them or not until he gets to read the language.
“We knew somebody would file these types bills and this is not unexpected,” said Torres, the District 33 State Representative in Corpus, who was elected last week after beating Solomon Ortiz Jr. “A lot of things can change from when a bill is filed and until it’s finished. It would be unfair for me to comment, then change my statement later.”
Torres was one of four Hispanic Republicans to the Texas House of Representatives elected to office during last week’s election. The House went from having 0 Hispanic Republicans to now having four. That also include Jose Aliseda from Beeville, who was elected to State Representative for District 35 located in Brush Country.
With this this type of legislation, some believe the support Hispanics gained from last week’s election could be lost.
“I have no idea( if Hispanics who voted Republican would turn on us) for passing this type of legislation,” Torres said. “A lot has to do with the final bill that comes and how the public feels about it.”
Torres said he plans to hold public hearings and find out the mood of his constituents on these Arizona type of laws before voting on it.
–Manuel De La Rosa, South Texas Tribune, firstname.lastname@example.org