3/14/2011 4:58 PM
Two bills backed by major conservative constituencies – gun rights groups and proponents of illegal immigration crackdowns – got passed out of committee in the House today.
The State Affairs Committee today passed out a committee substitute to HB 12 from Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton). The bill, among other things, prohibits municipalities or any agents or agencies thereof from adopting a policy that prohibits inquiry into the immigration status of a "person lawfully detained," i.e. a suspect. The bill has been called the "anti-sanctuary city bill."
Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) tried to amend the bill twice. His first amendment would have removed school districts from the bill. He argued that the bill would punish school districts and put them in jeopardy of receiving state funds.
Oliveira also tried to amend the bill to allow municipalities to temporarily suspend the law for fiscal reasons – i.e. if they did not have the money, resources, or manpower to enforce immigration laws and imprison violators thereof.
Both amendments were voted down by the committee, along party lines. Republicans voted against, and the Democrats for, the amendments. The bill was then voted out, also along party lines.
Gov. Rick Perry has declared sanctuary cities an emergency item, a move received cynically by Democrats, who have compared the bill to Arizona's controversial law.
Also on the move in the House, the Commuter Carry bill, HB 681, was passed unanimously (6-0) out of House Business and Industry today. That bodes pretty well for commuter carry making it to the governor's desk. The bill would more or less require employers to allow employees to leave their guns locked inside their vehicles while said vehicles are parked their employers' property.
At this point the biggest question may be whether HB 681 or its companion SB 321 can amass 21 votes in the Senate – necessary to suspend the regular order of business to take up and consider it.