April 23, 2007
Voter ID debate going on

Eye on Williamson is sort-of liveblogging things. Vince is in the Capitol, so maybe he'll have a report for us soon. Inside Texas Politics has some analysis, Postcards from the Lege mentions the Royal Masset column, which was (in what I hope will be a good sign) distributed to members by Republican Rep. Delwin Jones of Lubbock, and Capitol Letters makes a good point about a proposed age exemption:

The unanswerable question is, if they don't need an ID, then how do you know how old they are? How do you tell?

A couple of arguments against lowering the exempt age from 80 to 65 was that 65-year-olds are still plenty young enough to have a driver's license.

The argument for it was that since the AARP has come out opposed to the bill, they should just take seniors out of the equation altogether.

Rep. Jim Jackson, R-Carrollton, asks: How in the world did you come up with 65?
Rep. Jim Dunnam, House Dem Chair, responds: That's when you qualify for social security. How in the world did ya'll come up with 80??

The question of how you tell is not easy. If they have no driver's license, if they've long since lost their birth certificate since they draw social securty and dont need it anymore, and since their voter reg cards didn't start requirng a birth date until 1972, there's no verifying their age.

Hi, I'm 80. Prove me wrong.

Well, I've met Karen Brooks and I think I could make a pretty good case that she is in fact younger than that, but you see her point. TexasKaos, Hal, Latinos for Texas, and McBlogger have more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 23, 2007 to That's our Lege

I am all for letting Reps vote their districts and for the "big tent" idea of party principles, but what Kino Flores and Aaron Peña did today was totally inexcusable. They were absent from the House floor during the Voter ID bill debate, a debate that could have been won by the Dems if the party was united on this issue. The Dems were getting 3 or 4 Republican votes on most of the good amendments. The Dems lost the first amendment 73-72. If the Dems win that first amendment vote, the tone of the debate changes and the bill possibly goes down. But the Republicans knew they had two Dem votes in their pockets. A Democratic Rep in a conservative district is allowed to pull that shit in such a crucial debate, but two Reps from the Valley - where the voter ID bill will have the greatest impact - are not. This bill potentially hurts every statewide Democatic candidate, and the party has got to enforce some discipline...where is the whip? What are the consequences for Reps who cross the party and the interests of their own constituents on such a fundamental issue?

Posted by: el longhorn on April 23, 2007 9:59 PM