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No Sanctuary

Precious days are dwindling away in the first-called special session of the state legislature, leading to speculation that one of the most divisive issues of the regular and special session, the “sanctuary cities” legislation, may not make the deadline.

Demonstrators stand in front of the Texas Capitol on Feb. 22, 2011 to show their opposition to immigration legislation.

Precious days are dwindling away in the first-called special session of the state legislature, leading to speculation that one of the most divisive issues of the regular and special session, the “sanctuary cities” legislation, may not make the deadline. The 30-day session ends Wednesday, and the House State Affairs decided to delay consideration of the issue until Monday. If it works out, it'll happen right on the deadline.

Two bills, SB9 by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, and HB9 by state Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, would take state funding away from local governments and law enforcement agencies that enact policies prohibiting officers and other employees from questioning the immigration status of people they've arrested or lawfully detained. SB 9 also extends the government’s Secure Communities program and codifies stricter regulations for legal residents applying for driver’s licenses and IDs

If the State Affairs panel votes out a bill, and if it’s SB9 that gets voted out, look for Democrats to call points of order to try and send the bill back to committee.

If it’s HB9, the bill is likely dead. It hasn’t cleared either chamber and wouldn’t be taken up in the House until Tuesday or Wednesday. It would be a twist on what happened in the regular session, when Williams substituted his bill for the House bill; Solomons could play that back next week, leaving the Senate with the House bill and little time to do anything about it.

The timing allows Democratic opponents to snipe at either bill as the clock runs out.

And then there’s option three — Groundhog Day. Sanctuary cities could get added to the agenda of another special session if, say, the TWIA bill isn't settled in this one.

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