Texas Legislature Assignment

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Texas Legislature Assignment
The Texas Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of a 31-member Senate, along with a 150-member House of Representative. It is also “the dominant branch of state government within the state constitutional framework of separation of powers” (Texas). The Texas Legislature completed its regular biennial session in May of 2011 by considering 5,795 bills, but only passing 1,379 bills over the course of five month. One of two bills, particularly H.B. 12, has gotten plenty of attention and “was strongly supported by Governor Rick Perry and most conservative legislatures” (Assignment). The second bill, H.B. 1111, “was a mostly-unnoticed bill making a fairly obscure change to the state Property Code dealing with the eviction of a tenant who doesn't pay rent” (Assignment). Unfortunately, H.B. 12 received more press than H.B. 1111 in the most recent Texas Legislature biennial session.

The H.B. 12, the “sanctuary cities” bill, by State Rep. Burt Solomons (filed on February 16, 2011), is “relating to the enforcement of state and federal laws governing immigration by certain governmental entities” (Solomons). Thus, “prohibit[ing] cities, counties and other governmental entities or special districts from adopting a policy that prevents law enforcement from asking persons lawfully detained or arrested if they are in the country legally” (Aguilar). Along with many coauthors to H.B.12, its sponsor, Senator Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, continues to support the “sanctuary cities” bill—“even if he considers his own homeland security legislation a higher priority” (Aguilar).

According to the Dems fight vs. “Sanctuary Bills” article in the Houston Chronicle, “legislation banning ‘sanctuary cities’ appeared dead in the Senate, where 12 Democrats pledged to block consideration of the bill until past Wednesday's midnight deadline for House bills” (Hart). Despite this “fight” against the “sanctuary bill,” H.B. 12 has passed 4 out of 7 stages....
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