It's the blame game. Gov. Rick Perry has released a statement blaming Sen. Robert Duncan, R-Lubbock, for the death of sanctuary cities, which the governor added to the special session call. House Speaker Joe Straus has his own statement blaming the full Senate. And this morning, Senate Republicans and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst came to Duncan's —and their own — defense, releasing a statement turning the blame around on the House.
"The Senate passed SB 9, the sanctuary cities bill, with unanimous Republican support two weeks ago, and nothing has happened," Dewhurst said in a statement. "If the House really wants to pass sanctuary cities, they should pass it today."
Perry's statement said state leaders worked through the weekend to include sanctuary cities legislation on Senate Bill 1, the fiscal matters bill that's currently tangled up in the House.
"Unfortunately, SB1 Conference Committee Chairman Robert Duncan ultimately refused to allow language related to the ban of sanctuary cities into the final version of Senate Bill 1," Perry wrote in his statement. "Because of this action, the special session will not provide our peace officers with the discretion they need to adequately keep Texans safe from those that would do them harm.”
Straus' statement says the House "passed anti-sanctuary cities legislation during the regular session, which the Senate failed to pass or even bring up. During the special session... the Senate failed to fulfill its commitment."
But this morning, the Senate's Republican Caucus released a statement saying senators encouraged Duncan not to put sanctuary cities on SB 1, for fear combining them would put both at risk of not passing. They said the Senate version of sanctuary cities — SB 9 — was voted out of the upper chamber two weeks ago, a jab at the House for not passing it out of committee.
"SB 9 was a strong bill that would have delivered significant reform and protections to Texas citizens," the Senate's statement reads.
Despite his harsh words for Duncan, Perry's statement does not threaten another special session over the legislation.