From bullying members in committee to blocking questions from a Black lawmaker and preventing public comment on a voter suppression bill, Briscoe Cain has gone mad with power and uses his position to push extreme disenfranchisement legislation.
The State House Election Committee is one that I have been watching closely. Early on, I noticed that Briscoe Cain was often and regularly rude to Democrat Michelle Beckley. Take the video below, for example.
Representative Bonnen was at the podium, explaining his bill, while Representative Beckley grilled him about his bill’s purpose. She asked if the bill’s reason was that we had a president who lied about the election.
Look at Briscoe Cain’s reaction. He let out a loud grunt, then looked away from Beckley for a solid 10 seconds, and then whipped around and glared out the side of her head.
This was done in front of other lawmakers, in front of an audience full of witnesses, and while they were broadcasting online to who knows how many.
Rude and unprofessional.
That’s not the only incident. Repeatedly, when Representative Cain asks the members if there are any more questions, if Representative Beckley raises her hand, Cain will look at her, then look around at the other members, and he will always choose one of the men who raise their hands before Beckley, even when she raises her hand first, even when he sees her first.
The verbal interactions he has had with Beckley on the dais, he responds to her condescendingly. (Check the Living Blue TX Facebook page next week for a super clip) There are other women on this committee. Up until yesterday, he wasn’t rude to them. There are other Democrats on the committee. Up until yesterday, he wasn’t rude to them: Nope, just Representative Michelle Beckley.
He also continuously calls Michelle Beckley “Ms. Beckley” or “Mrs. Beckley.” Her name is REPRESENTATIVE BECKLEY. She earned that title, and it’s disrespectful for Briscoe Cain to call her anything else.
Briscoe Cain has made it obvious that he doesn’t like Representative Beckley; he’s one of those types of people who wear their heart on their sleeves. Beckley always handles herself with professionalism and keeps a smile on her face, no matter how rude or condescending Cain has been to her.
The fact that Representative Beckley is always kind and respectful to Cain and the other members on the committee only makes him look like a bigger horse’s ass.
Briscoe Cain is a bully, and he is bullying a female lawmaker. That should chap everyone’s hide. But what happened yesterday was uglier and more egregious than Cain’s behavior towards Beckley.
Yesterday, Briscoe Cain laid out his voter suppression bill, HB6.
HB6 echoes and perpetuates “The Big Lie” conspiracy theory that stoked voter intimidation last election cycle and fueled the insurrection on January 6th. HB6 would allow partisan poll watchers free reign to disrupt the election process bringing back the old Jim Crow tactics of voter intimidation. It would also criminalize community organizing and has the potential to disenfranchise millions of Black and brown voters in Texas.
Because Cain authored the bill, Democrat and vice-chair Jessica Gonzales were given the gavel to lead the committee, asking Cain about the bill.
The questions were going smooth enough for a voter suppression bill, then-Representative Nicole Collier showed up to ask questions, too.
There are no Black committee members. Representative Collier is Black. Considering how severe the voter suppression bill is, you would think Cain would be interested in hearing at least one Black voice on the bill.
Briscoe Cain blocked Collier from asking any questions.
It is a common practice in the Texas House to allow nonmembers to participate in committee hearings. However, Cain wasn’t allowing it and called the committee to recess.
Hundreds of people showed up from all across the state to testify on this bill, and even Beto O’Rourke was there. When the committee returned 30 minutes later, Briscoe Cain announced that the House parliamentarian had told him that because he had not recessed to a specified time, the committee, under the House rules, could no longer meet that day. The representative apologized to everyone for his error and promised to have another hearing sometime soon.
Briscoe Cain is the absolute worst and is dedicated to stopping Black and brown people from voting.
After this technical error, the hundreds of people who came to testify were not allowed to speak. The bill was left pending, and the rules state Cain can bring the bill back up without giving the public notice. What do you think he’ll do?
Voting rights in Texas are under attack.
The only way Republicans can win is by cheating and they are trying their hardest to make sure they stay in power.
Texas currently is:
- Ranked 46th in voter turnout.
- Ranked 50th in ease of voting.
- And continuously ranked the most voter suppressed state.
Briscoe Cain and the Republican party seek to make it worse. Stand up against them and vote them out. We need HR1 to pass in DC. It likely is the only thing we have left to save us.
Update: Briscoe Cain has publicly announced that public testimony will be allowed on April 1, at 8 am.
You can now read an ad-free version of Living Blue in Texas and help support our mission to turn Texas blue for the price of a coffee. Sign up now.
Sign up for our weekly blog roundup: