Updated: Wentworth Blasts Straus Over Campus Carry

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth charged today that his San Antonio colleague, House speaker Joe Straus, used undue influence last night to strip an amendment allowing concealed handguns on college campuses out of a fiscal matter's bill.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, prepares to leave the Senate chamber after he tried to generate support for his guns-on-campus bill SB354 on April 11, 2011

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, attacked House speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, today for using what he called undue influence last night to strip an amendment from a fiscal matters bill that would allow concealed handguns on college campuses. Wentworth said he will continue to try to find a way to pass his bill legalizing the carrying of handguns in college buildings but at this point he may be running out of time.

Wentworth had attached his controversial bill to a higher education fiscal matters bill after trying for weeks to pass the bill on its own. The House sent the bill back to the Senate on Thursday after deciding that the campus-carry amendment did not belong on a fiscal matters bill.

Wentworth believed Straus used his influence to get rid of language because, Wentworth said, Straus has never liked the handgun legislation.

“I’m not very happy with him at this point,” Wentworth said. Legalizing the carrying of licensed handguns on college campus is the will of the Legislature, he said, and locking the passage of the bill once more was a perversion of representative democracy, he added.

In response, Straus' office released a statement: "Having been a member of the Legislature for over 20 years, my good friend, Jeff should know the rules better. I understand he had difficulty in passing his bill in the Senate, but as a former House member, I'm sure he is aware of how we enforce the two-subject rule against Senate bills."

With only a little over a week left in the session, Wentworth said he is still looking for a way to pass or attach his bill to another piece of legislation. But he admitted things were “looking pretty bleak at this point.”

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