Conservatives have dubbed the end of last week as “the most conservative 48-hours in Texas House history,” the rest of us know what we saw was a metaphoric cross-burning.
Texas Conservatives were hailing it as the most conservatives 48 hours in the history of the Texas House. May 6th and May 7th at the Texas legislature were anything but Conservative. Although the far-right majority got to check several of the boxes off their wish list, nothing they passed had anything to do with fiscal responsibility or limited government.
We’re living in a post-Trump era, where hate and lies have consumed much of our country, including our lawmakers. Those 48-hours weren’t the most Conservative. It was the darkest. Not just because of the absolute horror of the oppressive bills passed by House Republicans, but because Republicans shed their skins and showed themselves to be the monsters they truly are.
The members in the Texas House have always touted themselves as being bipartisan and far away from the political divide of Washington DC. However, the 87th legislature proved that Texas’s political divide is no different from the political divide in DC. Republicans were aimed at hurting as many people as they could and taking away the rights of everyone who didn’t fit their mold.
SB8 – The Abortion Ban
SB8, otherwise known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” was one of the first things passed on May 6. Senator Bryan Hughes initially authored the bill. Nearly every Republican has signed onto this bill or the identical HB 1511 by Representative Shalby Slawson.
Slawson, who has repeated this multiple times, said she wanted to take away the rights of all Texas women because of her experience with a miscarriage.
Representative Donna Howard spoke against the bill, calling it the “Forced Pregnancy Act.” She said that the bill doesn’t rely on any science, but instead opinion. It will ban nearly every abortion in the state of Texas and will drive women back into the shadows of unsafe and coat hanger abortions.
(Here is the second reading, debate, and amendments, which took place on May 5. Slawson had no answers, didn’t understand what she was doing, and was rude and combative the entire time.)
Why are these women so angry?
The video of the second reading of SB8 is long, but it’s interesting to watch the Republican women during this video if you have the time. Their dynamic is fascinating.
The sheer amount of hatred from these women is astounding, especially Shelby Slawson.
Slawson is Representative over District 59, which includes Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba, and Somervell Counties.
Not only is Slawson terrible at hiding her emotions and contorted her face in anger and hate as she debated with Democrats, but she was also rude, combative, and refused to answer many of their questions.
Representative Stephanie Klick frowned and rolled her eyes at her Democratic colleagues, often looking back to Candy Noble to make sure that Noble agreed with her rudeness, disgust, ideocracy, or who knows what. During the debate, when Democrats would point out how SB8 was bad, inconsistent, and would hurt Texas women, Representative Valoree Swanson would grin and look at the other women at the dais.
Like I said, if you get the time to watch the second debate, it’s fascinating. The grin Swanson made when hearing this legislation would hurt people reminded me of the grin Derek Chauvin made as he murdered George Floyd. Representative Candy Noble, who stood behind all of these women, may not have even understood why she was there. She looked lost during most of it and would often lean over to one of the other women to whisper in their ears, with her hand cupped over her mouth as if she was a 13-year-old girl. Watching the interactions between Noble and these other women will give you the impression that she’s a follower, not a leader.
The final vote on SB8.
SB8 passed the final vote in the Texas House with an 83 – 64 vote. Every single Republican voted for the bill. Almost every Democrat voted against the bill, except for one.
- Representative Ryan Guillen
It’s been an unwritten rule with Living Blue in Texas that we wouldn’t bash Democrats. However, we didn’t know that Ryan Guillen voted with Republicans 90% of the time, as you’ll see on his other votes during these 48-hours.
Guillen is the Representative over House District 31.
We think it’s time for Guillen to be primaried.
Since SB8 bans abortions after 6 weeks, before most women know they’re pregnant, it bans nearly all abortions in the state of Texas, even in cases of rape or incest.
SB 8 would let any random anti-choicer sue abortion providers for damages, even if the abortion provider and woman who got the abortion are strangers. This will open the flood gates for frivolous lawsuits.
It also criminalizes helping someone get an abortion within the city. That means anyone who drives someone to an appointment, provides information on abortion, or even donates to an abortion fund could be charged with aiding and abetting.
Undoubtedly, this bill will be overturned by Federal Courts.
HB9 – Reinforcing fake news.
Last year, after a police was shot in L.A., the Los Angeles Police Department when on right-wing media and made up a bunch of lies.
The police told the media that protesters were blocking the ambulance entrance and shouting, “death to police.” Right-wing media took it and ran with it. Every media outlet and every GOP voter on Facebook spent weeks talking about how horrible and evil Black Lives Matter was because they tried to stop ambulances from bringing people to the hospital and were wishing death on the cop who was ambushed. Except none of that was true.
And it was all caught on video.
The analysis for HB9 from Representative Stephanie Klick actually cites that very story as the reason Klick wrote this bill.
It shows, more than anything, how right-wing media hasn’t only warped the minds of our family members and neighbors, but it goes all the way up to the Texas legislature.
If these people lack the critical thinking skills to research the validity of something before writing a bill about it, it makes you wonder if they truly deserve a seat as a Texas lawmaker.
HB1925 – A statewide criminalization of homelessness.
HB 1925 makes it illegal to be homeless in the state of Texas. If a houseless person is found sleeping, living, or “camping” anywhere, except for private property,
Under this bill, if a person is caught being homeless, they are subject to a fine of up to $500 and arrest. Not only that, if they are arrested, police must store their belongings for a fee, returning them to the person only after the fee is paid.
This is a statewide bill. If a person in Texas falls on bad luck or is the victim of some unfortunate circumstances in Texas, this bill will turn them into a criminal and make their situation substantially worse.
Cruelty is the point.
On top of that, HB 3034 will create a government database of houseless people. Government community service entities will share all of their data on these people with law enforcement. The point is to dissuade houseless people from seeking services in fear that there will be legal ramifications as their status as a homeless person.
HB1900 – Pro-police, anti-black, anti-local control.
On the afternoon of the 6th, HB1900 passed the third reading in the House. HB1900 punishes only 11 cities if they reinvest police funds in the community. Of those 11 cities, nine have a minority-majority population (meaning in those nine cities, white people are the minority).
There have yet to be any bills read on the floor that address police violence.
This bill passed 90-49, meaning some Democrats crossed the aisle and voted for it with Republicans.
Here are the Democrats:
- Terry Canales
- Bobby Guerra
- Ryan Guillen
- Abel Herrero
- Armando “Mando” Martinez
- Eddie Morales Jr.
- Sergio Muñoz, Jr.
- Victoria Neave
- Richard Peña Raymond
- Senfronia Thompson
Surely, they each had their own reasons, but their vote will represent a disenfranchisement of their own communities.
In the era of reckoning with police violence.
We know now how racial segregation and police interests intersect. Black neighborhoods are over-policed, which leads to Black people, especially young Black men, being harassed and targeted by police at a higher rate than most other demographic. Reallocating funds can even make communities safer.
Back the Blue, Blue Lives Matter, and The Thin Blue Line have become synonymous with white supremacy. This pro-police movement started in response to Black Lives Matter. It was a racist attack on Black people asking the police to stop killing them. Instead of agreeing with BIPOC and their allies that Black lives matter, too, the Back the Blue movement retorts that by saying blue shirts are more important than Black lives.
Representative Craig Goldman, District 97, even called HB1900 the “Back the Blue” bill.
SB7/HB6 – Jim Crow voter suppression.
If you follow me on Twitter, you likely know I have spent the last few days ticked off and calling Texas Republicans the asshole racists that they are. Especially Briscoe Cain blocked me last November after calling him out over his trip to Pennsylvania seditious.
Cain is the worst of the worst and dragged this bill on for two days. Around 3 pm on May 6th, he pushed the bill out to 5 pm. The second reading of the bill began after 5 pm. Before Cain could get through the reading of his bills, Democrats began with the questions.
Here is the entire video of the debate. You may have seen some of these clips online already, but it’s definitely worth the watch if you have the time.
Cain crumbled under the Democrat’s questions. He didn’t have any good answers regarding his intent on the bill. He admitted to not getting a racial impact analysis and was hammered about using the word “purity” in the bill.
Watching the Democrats grill Briscoe Cain will give you a new appreciation for Texas Democrats.
The difference in integrity and moral character between Texas Democrats and Texas Republicans is striking. Democratic Representatives Jessica Gonzales, Chris Turner, Rafael Anchia, Nicole Collier, Jasmine Crockett, Anne Johnson, Julie Johnson, and John Turner are all voting rights champions.
Most ironic, during the debate on the second reading of SB7, both Valoree Swanson and Lacey Hull could be seen behind Cain. It’s ironic because, on the morning of May 6th, we broke the news about allegations of election fraud by both of these women.
After John Turner called the point of order, it took Speaker Dade Phelan and two parliamentarians to figure out if the point of order was legit or not.
After two hours, Cain moved to postpone the bill until 11:30 pm.
It was after midnight before the bill came up again. Texas House members stayed until after 3 am.
The House read through 20 amendments rapidly.
Although Democrats had claimed to have over 100 amendments, it’s unclear why they didn’t get to the rest of them, other than the session on May 6 lasted over 17 hours.
Cain accepted every amendment that was proposed.
HB1900 went through the third reading and passed through the House. SB7 went through the third reading and passed the House.
In just 48-hours, Republicans in the Texas House passed the most restrictive voting bill since the Civil Rights Era, took away a woman’s right to choose, passed bills based on fake news, criminalized homelessness, and voted to restrict municipalities that wanted to make their communities safer.
Elections have consequences. In our post-Trump era, the Republicans left standing have taken a hard right. Their agenda is to suppress as many people as they can and strip you away from as many rights as they can. Don’t let this happen anymore, because they are only going to get more extreme. In 2022, we have to flip the Texas House if we want a fair and equitable state to live in.
Vote. Always, vote. In every single election, until they’re gone.
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