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Senate moves forward on sanctuary cities and DREAM Act repeal bills


Senate Bill 185 by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, also called the “sanctuary cities” bill, would cut off state funding for local governments or governmental entities that adopt policies forbidding peace officers from inquiring about the immigration status of people they detain or arrest.

The bill passed the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote and now heads to the full Senate. When that chamber considered similar legislation in 2011, Democrats argued that the bill could lead to racial profiling by rogue police officers and hurt the state’s economy. The measure failed to pass during the regular and special sessions of the 82nd Legislature.

Republicans have revived their arguments that the measure is a simple way for police officers to determine who is in Texas in violation of federal immigration laws. Perry’s bill was tweaked in committee on Monday and does not apply to commissioned peace officers hired by school districts or open enrollment charter schools. Victims or witnesses to crimes are also exempted from the proposal.

And two.

The Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee took a speedy 4-3 vote on Wednesday, two days after 11 hours of emotional testimony on the contentious measure.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1819 by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, repeals a 2001 provision — signed into law by then-Gov. Rick Perry — that allows some undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities. Of the 176 people who testified on Monday night, only five were in favor of Campbell’s bill.


It’s unknown when the full Senate could take up the measure, but supporters of the current policy aren’t waiting. On Monday, former Republican state Rep. Carl Isett, a co-author of the 2001 bill, will join the Texas Association of Business’s Bill Hammond and Juan Hernandez, a former aide to Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain, at a news conference where they will reiterate their support for the in-state policy.

That’s your Senate, folks. I expect both bills will pass when they come to the floor. The Senate hasn’t gotten much done so far this session, and what little they have gotten done has mostly been ideological pieces, some of which (likely including these bills) may not get anywhere in the House. Would Greg Abbott call a special session to force the issue on these things if time is a factor in their demise? Maybe, but if so he isn’t talking about it – truthfully, he isn’t saying much about anything, which may be just as well. Anyway, that’s where we stand right now.

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