Texas TSA Bill Goes Down

The anti-groping TSA bill in Texas died yesterday after failing to clear state constitutional procedural hurdles, caused by deliberate delaying tactics of leadership in both the House and Senate.

On Tuesday, the Senate adjourned sine die after passing SB 29 - the stronger of the two versions, after HB 41 had been somewhat diluted by a few amendments - meaning the House could only consider SB 29, not HB 41, or the toothless resolution the House had brought up earlier in the day.

However, before the House had a vote on the second reading of SB 29 on Tuesday, the Speaker decided to adjourn for the day after a few hours of "tough" budget negotiations.  This meant that in order to pass SB 29 on Wednesday, the bill would need to garner 100 votes to suspend the rules and move from the second to the third reading in a single day.

On Wednesday, the bill initially had 106 votes to approve the second reading and move to the third.  Then, when it came time for the vote to suspend the rules and move on to final passage, some lawmakers were conspicuously absent, leaving the bill with only 96 votes in favor - just four shy of the threshold to pass.

Following the defeat, State Rep. David Simpson gave an impassioned speech slamming leadership in both chambers, stating specifically that House leadership deliberately thwarted his effort - while the Speaker was standing behind him.

The Texas Tribune writes:

During his 15-minute speech, Simpson said he is "fed up with phonies" and politicians who take credit for bills they try to kill. He quoted Churchill by saying, "Never yield to force... never yield to the overwhelming might of the enemy." On the TSA legislation, he declared, "I'm not giving up."

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