Sanctuary cities bill clears first Senate committee

As expected.

Senate Bill 185 by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, would cut off state funding for local governments or governmental entities that adopt policies that forbid peace officers from inquiring into the immigration status of a person detained or arrested.

Some Texas cities have taken the position that such enforcement is the federal government’s job, not theirs — which Perry patently disagrees with. “Rule of law is important and we must ensure that local governments do not pick and choose the laws that they choose to enforce,” Perry told the subcommittee.

The bill now goes to the full Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations, where it’ll likely be passed and sent to the full chamber. The debate in the full Senate promises to be a repeat of the emotion-fueled scene of 2011, the last time the controversial legislation was considered. That year Democrats argued the bill would lead to racial profiling, costly litigation and make witnesses to crimes reluctant to cooperate with law enforcement.


The bill was voted on Monday on a party-line split, with state Sens. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, and Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, voting for it. State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, voted against. Monday’s adopted version was tweaked from the original bill; it now does not apply to commissioned peace officers hired by school districts or open enrollment charter schools, and exempts victims or witnesses to crimes.

It gives entities found out of compliance 90 days to change policies after they are informed they are in violation.

During the debate, Lucio asked Perry why a handful of amendments that would have made the bill more palatable to him weren’t adopted, including one that would have exempted faith-based volunteers who do humanitarian work within the immigrant community from being questioned if they were detained.

“I walked out of here pretty happy,” Lucio said, referring to last month’s hearing when the original bill was heard and he was told his amendments would be considered. “I would have co-authorized your legislation.”

Perry said that after discussions with legal experts, including staffers in the office of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, he decided to go another way. Republicans argue the bill is a simple measure that allows local police to ferret out undocumented immigrants who are in the country to do others harm.

See here and here for some background. This bill will very likely pass the Senate, on party lines, but it may or may not make it through the House, partly because time is short and partly because there’s less appetite for it there. I know it’s been six years since Tom Craddick was deposed as Speaker, but I still find it hard to believe sometimes that the House is now the more mature and deliberate chamber. Relatively speaking, anyway. It’s scary to think we could have had Speaker Craddick in addition to Dan Patrick running amok in the Senate. Things really can always get worse.

That wasn’t the only bill heard yesterday.

Heartless, draconian and economically irresponsible. That’s what opponents of Senate Bill 1819 Monday called the effort by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, to stop allowing certain undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Texas colleges and universities.

The bill was laid out in a Senate subcommittee on border security during a marathon hearing. As of Monday afternoon, about 160 witnesses had signed up to testify before the committee, including dozens of students who donned caps and gowns amid a standing-room only crowd. As of Monday evening, the vast majority of witnesses urged the committee to vote against the measure.

It marked the beginning of the first true attempt in years to repeal 2001’s HB 1403, by former state Rep. Nick Noriega, D-Houston. Since then, minor attempts to repeal the tuition law have generally faltered without fanfare or attention, usually as amendments that failed to pass.

Current law — approved with near unanimous legislative consent 14 years ago — allows undocumented students who have lived in Texas for at least three years and pledge to apply for legal status as soon as they can under federal law to pay in-state tuition rates.

Campbell’s bill would end that, and allow universities to establish a policy to “verify to the satisfaction of the institution” that a student is a legal resident or citizen

Campbell was as mendacious and ill-informed during the hearing as you’d expect. As of this writing, we don’t know if the bill was voted on in committee or not, but the same thinking applies to it as to the sanctuary cities bill. If time runs out on them, it will be interesting to see if Greg Abbott forces the issue with a special session. RG Ratcliffe, recalling one of the few worthwhile things Rick Perry said during his otherwise disastrous 2012 Presidential campaign, and the Observer have more.

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5 Responses to Sanctuary cities bill clears first Senate committee

  1. Steven Houston says:

    “Monday’s adopted version was tweaked from the original bill; it now does not apply to commissioned peace officers hired by school districts or open enrollment charter schools, and exempts victims or witnesses to crimes.”

    So how long would it take for an enterprising young shyster to come up with the fact that the illegal was a witness to his own crime, therefore exempting the officer from taking action? Before Manny has another attack over the comment, I’m referring to the crime bringing the suspect to the attention of the officer, not his illegal status. This could mean speeding, some other traffic violation, littering, or anything else listed as a class C misdemeanor, the police already inquiring for higher level crimes such as DWI, drugs, and such.

    And whether some like it or not, SB 1819 may not pass this time but the sentiment is growing among the legal citizens of the community to pass something like it. I don’t see it happening this session but the harder opponents fight it, the more it fuels the fire to push it through by others.

  2. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steven did you know that in the 70s they used to do that without a bill?

    Well now that you know, why do you think they quit asking?

    hint, hint, they were have problems solving crimes, many crimes were not being reported, hint, hint,

    HPD even formed a Chicano Squad, wonder why they would put all those “Mexicans” there? They weren’t true detectives like the white boys who had gotten promoted.

    If you were an “illegal” Steven and you witness someone robbing a store would you testify?

    Be careful what you wish for, one them “illegals” could witness something that you or someone you know would need a witness for.

    Do some reading Steven, especially history, learn from it so that bad things don’t keep repeating.

    Why do you hate “Mexican” looking people so much Steven?

    Why “Manny” Steven, you don’t like my first name? It means “God be with us” from EManuel. I don’t use “Manny”, although Rob Todd used to call me that. He was a Republican then. I think he opened his eyes and saw the truth.

  3. Steven Houston says:

    Manny, perhaps this is a good time to mention that I am against the sanctuary bill and was against demanding the city police inquire about status unless it pertains to a higher level criminal charge? Your snarky responses only prove you do not read the posts you comment on.

    As for the other comments, HPD currently doesn’t bother to investigate tens of thousands of reported crimes with evidence, does a fine job discouraging many others via their highly flawed tele-reporting system, and doesn’t exactly have a history of treating crimes in the minority communities particularly well. As far as their “Chicano squads”, I seem to recall their biggest such squad fired for shaking down Latino businesses, perhaps a few escaped with demotions or extended unpaid vacations for pointing the fingers at their peers, but there were supervisors involved in the scheme and you can correct me if I’m wrong but the last time the city had a detective rank was 30 years ago.

    So again, no hatred for any particular nationality or race, just providing some insight that the GOP is going to use a particular issue as a fund raising, vote getting point while you’re out there trashing fellow democrats Manny. As far as how much of a republican he was, he voted your peers huge raises and pension boosts before leaving office to let others pay for it so I doubt many would suggest he was more than a RHINO anyway.

  4. Manuel Barrera says:

    Steven, why do you hate “Mexican” looking folks? Your tales keep getting bigger all the time.

  5. Steven Houston says:

    Manny, if that is all you have to add to the discussion, perhaps you should join with fellow troll Dave Wilson to inspire others elsewhere.

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