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Lucio Asks Perry to Add Checkpoints to Agenda

A border lawmaker has written Gov. Rick Perry in the hopes of adding another item to the agenda for the current special session.

Texas Department of Public Safety patch worn on a uniform during an April 7, 2011 graduation ceremony in Austin.

A border lawmaker has written Gov. Rick Perry in the hopes of adding another item to the agenda for the current special session.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, asked Perry today to include the establishment of southbound checkpoints to the list of items lawmakers are currently debating. He also filed Senate Bill 43, which would grant the Texas Department of Public Safety the authority to establish checkpoints 250 yards away from an international port of entry to search for illicit weapons and cash headed into Mexico.

“As mentioned in the State of the State Address, we must continue our investment in border security,” Lucio wrote. “The special session affords us an opportunity to work together and pass SB 43, a bipartisan bill that strengthens the border.”

The bill is identical to the legislation filed during the regular session that the Senate passed unanimously on a voice vote. It failed to get placed on the House calendar, however, and was also pulled from a House bill when it was attached as an amendment.

Lucio said during the waning days of the regular session that the legislation, if passed, would be the only bill to affect border security this session other than what was appropriated in the budget.

Lucio added in his plea to Perry that the weapon used to murder Jaime Zapata, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer and South Texas native, was purchased legally in Dallas.

“In other words, a Texas gun took the life of a Texas son working to make our border safe," he wrote. "In the 82nd regular session, lawmakers passed a memorial resolution honoring Jaime. Now it's time to pass 'Jaime's Law.'"

Opponents of the measure have cautioned that checkpoints could lead to violations of constitutional protections against illegal search and seizure by law enforcement. Others have said it could threaten international trade by delaying commercial vehicles traveling south.

Perry called the special session last month. By law it cannot extend past June 29.

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