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HB 12: The Liveblog

Debate is underway on HB 12, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill, which would prohibit cities, counties and other governmental entities or special districts from adopting a policy that prevents law enforcement from asking persons lawfully detained or arrested if they are in the country legally.

Sponsor of HB12 State Rep. Burt Solomons (l), R-Carrollton, and Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, listen to a point of order...

The debate on HB 12, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill, is underway. The bill by state Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, would prohibit cities, counties and other governmental entities or special districts from adopting a policy that prevents law enforcement from asking persons lawfully detained or arrested if they are in the country legally.

 

 

 

Liveblog

by Julián Aguilar
The debate on HB 12, the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill is about to begin. The bill by state Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, would prohibit cities, counties and other governmental entities or special districts from adopting a policy that prevents law enforcement from asking persons lawfully detained or arrested if they are in the country legally. Governmental entities would also be prohibited from enacting policies prohibiting law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officers or prohibiting federal immigration officers from conducting enforcement activities at municipal and county jails. Entities not in compliance could risk losing state funds.

The item is one of five declared an "emergency" by Gov. Rick Perry. Fifty-nine amendments were pre-filed and include provisions that would remove hospital districts from the rule. Another prevents students 17 years of age or younger from being questioned about their immigration status by peace officers. Others would require entities to submit to the state an annual report reflecting the fiscal impact of the legislation and another mandates law enforcement officials adopt a policy prohibiting racial profiling. With the deadline to move bills out of committee coming Monday, look for lawmakers to try and attach, as amendments, legislation they know has no chance of making it to the House calendar. For instance, state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Tomball, filed HB 17, which would make being in the country illegally a trespassing crime. The bill didn’t make it out of committee, so Riddle’s attached it to HB 12 as an amendment.



by Julián Aguilar
After a brief layout of the bill by Solomons, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, raises a point of order on the bill. Calendars Chairman Todd Hunter said earlier that if the bill is knocked off the calender today due to a point of order, it will likely be back on the House floor Monday.
by Julián Aguilar
House will stand at ease for 10 minutes while staff researches the point of order. If it gets knocked, State Affairs committee may suspend posting rules to reconsider bill and kick it out of committee as soon as this afternoon.
by Julián Aguilar
Point of Order deals with missing information on two witness affirmation forms filed when HB 12 was heard before the State Affairs Committee. Sounds trivial, but keep in mind Voter ID was pulled for a day after staffers found a one-word discrepancy between the bill text and the bill analysis. Stay tuned ...
by Julián Aguilar
Point of order overruled. Martinez Fischer still asking questions but the debate should begin again shortly.
by Julián Aguilar
While we wait, let's go over a few more amendments. One by state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, would require that the state reimburse city governments for the costs they incur to detain and incarcerate those who would be arrested under this bill's policy. Another by Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, would require every entity affected to submit to the state comptroller a detailed report on the costs associated in implementing this legislation. Democrats are trying to hit the GOP in its pocket book.
by Julián Aguilar
OK, another point of order raised. This one after Martinez Fischer was not satisfied with the explanation given by Speaker Straus on why his first was overruled. Said since he was not limited in how long he could raise parliamentary inquires, members could "force him to sit" if they so chose.
by Julián Aguilar
Point of order NO. 2 deals with another incomplete witness affirmation form. According to Rep. Aaron Peña: "Newest point of order by Rep. Trey Martinez is that a witness failed to indicate her "profession" on the witness form."
by Julián Aguilar

Name of Image

by Julián Aguilar
Second point of order overruled. Craig Eiland, D-Texas City, now at back mic. Asks Speaker if it's possible to curb the impromptu calling of committee hearings from floor to let "the public be notified." (Calenders just called a meeting.)
by Julián Aguilar
Solomons: Bill has received a lot of erroneous press. "The idea that we are requiring almost anything is inaccurate." Says the bill sets up a process so the entire subject matter can be resolved. "I do know we need to have a uniform and consistent policy" across the State of Texas, he says. In committee, he says, he tried to exclude schools and says amendments to exclude health care will be acceptable.
by Julián Aguilar
A little back and forth between state Rep. Armando Walle and Solomons: Walle asks if he has to carry his birth certificate while driving. Solomons says, again, the bill is about discretion and doesn't mandate anything. To Walle: ""Do you want police officers to have to ask? Because this bill doesn't do it."
by Julián Aguilar
Peña to Solomons" Am I going to be stopped because I am Hispanic?"

Solomons: "The idea of stopping someone because they look Hispanic ... or French. We just don't do that."
by Julián Aguilar
Solomons to Peña: The Ariz legislation requires police to ask, whereas this bill adopts policies to prohibit officers from interfering in immigration enforcement.

"Arizona requires officers to inquiry. We wouldn't do that," Solomons said.
by Julián Aguilar
State Rep. Carol Alvarado: "We are interfering with the day-to-day operations of police officers." According to the bill's fiscal note, the bill has no significant fiscal impact on the state. But the bill analysis says that the City of Houston Police Department, for example, could be forced to spend more than $4 million on 58 new personnel, including officers and guards and expanded jail space if the bill is passed. Alvarado is from HD 145 in Houston
by Julián Aguilar
State Rep. Veronica Gonzales just read Solomons a list of law enforcement officials opposed to the bill, including officials from the City of Fort Worth, City of Austin, Hidalgo County, the City of McAllen and the City of Houston.
by Julián Aguilar
Rep. Veronica Gonzales: "There are going to be people that are going to be mad as Hell if they are stopped and asked [about status]" Asks "Who is going to defend the [police] departments" against those who accuse them of abusing power? She's angling toward the "unfunded mandate" defense, says legal battles could cost municipalities millions.

by Julián Aguilar
Amendment 1 by State Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, requires that all affected entities enter into an agreement with DHS where the federal government provides them training and authorizes them to perform immigration duties. Gutierrez says it's about getting the feds to pay for the bill, which he calls an unfunded mandate. Heated exchange between Gutierrez and Leo Berman. Berman says it won't cost San Antonio a penny. "Mr Berman I am willing to bet you your retirement that the City of San Antonio will pay more," Gutierrez says.
by Julián Aguilar
State Rep. Armando Martinez, who called the point of order that pulled down voter ID, calls one on HB 12. We're still waiting for the vote to table Gutierrez's amendment. Meanwhile, state Rep. Rene Oliveira added to the concerns members have about racial profiling. Best quote yet: "In this state we have had driving while black. If this bill passes we will have driving while Mexican."
by Julián Aguilar
Point of order overruled. Back to floor debate.
by Julián Aguilar
Gutierrez's amendment tabled on a 92 to 47 vote. On to the next one by Anchia. It would allow chiefs and other department heads to opt out of the policy if he or she determines that the policy would inhibit their ability to have rapid 911 times or deal with violent crimes. "If this law has the effect of diminishing response times, then it's a bad law," he says.
by Julián Aguilar
Solomons at front mic in opposition to Anchia's amendment. Said it "guts the bill" and gives chiefs a series of loopholes to basically refuse to abide by what is laid out in HB 12.
by Julián Aguilar
Anchia amendment to allow chiefs to opt out is tabled, 95 to 46. Martinez Fischer with an amendment that would allow local governments to opt out if their legislative bodies pass a resolution to that effect with at least a three-fourths vote.
by Julián Aguilar
Solomons opposes amendment, says it is unacceptable and would allow local governments to opt out. Reminds members what the bill does: form a uniform policy. "At the end of the day when we pass state laws are we going to allow local governments to opt out?" he asks. "That's not what the people sent us here to do."
by Julián Aguilar
Martinez Fischer says his amendment will take a stand against "unfunded mandates" but it gets tabled anyway. Dies on a 93 to 47 vote.
by Julián Aguilar
Amendment by Rep. Jessica Farrar, laid out by state rep. Pete Gallego. Says he wants to "lower the rhetoric" this time around. Amendment will exclude sheriffs and county governments. Gallego says when you fill county jails with non-criminals "you create problems."
by Julián Aguilar
Amendment tabled 94 to 46. Dems haven't won one yet. Next up, another amendment by Martinez Fischer. This one would exclude "special districts" from the bill. Just a guess here, but I think it'll get tabled.
by Julián Aguilar
Martinez Fischer called a point of order, then pulled it down temporarily. So now, we wait. So far we've had five amendments offered, four have been tabled and one is pending. There are 59 amendments (and those don't include amendments to the amendments) to this bill. The House began its debate at 2:20 pm.
by Julián Aguilar
Point of order sustained. The bill will go back to committee and get kicked out tonight, Calendars likely to set it for Monday. Full story coming up.

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