Forget minor diversions like public policy, let’s focus on what’s really important to Texans in the fall, courtesy of the good people at SEC Shorts.
Border wars, cont’d
As this weekly update goes out into the ether, House members are on the floor debating (and likely rejecting) the governor’s pet issue of school choice. However, earlier this week that lower chamber did tackle two of the immigration-related items the governor put on their To-Do List: Senate Bill 3 by Huffman/Jetton (border security funding) and Senate Bill 4 by Perry/Spiller (illegal entry crime).
Of note in regard to SB 3 is a House floor amendment added to the bill that would allow some of the $1.54 billion appropriated by that legislation for border security operations to be spent on grants to local governments and agencies “to alleviate costs associated with an increased demand on local prosecutorial, judicial, and correctional resources.” How such grants would work in practice remains to be seen, but first, that amended bill will return to the Senate next week to see whether that change is acceptable to the original author.
The real kerfuffle in the House was over SB 4, which would create a new misdemeanor offense of illegal entry (with several felony enhancements, of course). The lower chamber approved that bill on a straight party-line vote after rejecting two dozen floor amendments offered by House Democrats. The lack of House substitutes or amendments to SB 4 means the bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature—and then shortly thereafter, the federal courts. (Or at least that is our assumption based on the line of questioning on the House floor from opponents who were clearly laying a foundation for several different constitutional challenges to the bill.)
We’ll break down that impending new law after it is signed; for now, we’ll merely wish good luck in advance to whomever among you draws the short straw and gets sued to enjoin enforcement of this new crime. And speaking of which, our keynote talk at the Elected Prosecutor Conference the week after the Thanksgiving holiday will be on “Defending Yourself & Your Office” (timely, no?). If you haven’t already registered for that training, online registration is closed but you can still register at the event as a walk-in attendee (more details HERE).
Legislative musical chairs
We thought this category was a useful addition when we added it to our updates a few weeks ago, but then the filing period opened in earnest and the news started coming too fast for us to keep up with it! Accordingly, we are shelving this entry until the filing period closes on Monday, December 11, after which we will see where everyone stands and report any interesting news.
We also try to keep track of all the local prosecutor races up for grabs, so if you know of a county attorney or district attorney race in which the incumbent is stepping down or faces a primary or general elected opponent, please email Rob with that information.
More than 1,650 people have registered to take our 2023 Legislative Update online, but not everyone who registered has completed the course. For those of you in that boat, consider this your reminder that the online Legislative Update closes on December 31, 2023, and will not be accessible after that date. If you have registered for that course but have not completed it, you must do so before the end of the year. And for those of you who haven’t taken the course yet, there is still plenty of time to register and complete it! Click HERE for details.
We have also opened registration for another live version of the Legislative Update to be held immediately following our February 2024 Investigator Conference at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center in San Marcos. This version of the Legislative Update will grant both CLE and TCOLE credit (No. 3188) but will be slightly more peace-officer-focused than our standard CLE course. For more details on how to register for this in-person offering, click HERE.
Here are some recent stories you might’ve missed:
- “Lawmakers Vote to Give Texas Power to Arrest, Deport Migrants” (Wall Street Journal [free link])
- “Texas chief justice among those set to step down early after Prop 13’s rejection” (KUT News [free])
- “Texas appeals court weighing whether state bar can discipline Ken Paxton for challenging 2020 presidential election” (Texas Tribune [free])
- “Oregon Decriminalized Hard Drugs. It Isn’t Working.” (Wall Street Journal [free])
- “Texas secessionists feel more emboldened than ever” (Texas Tribune [free])
- “What It Means to Be a Texan Is Changing in Surprising Ways” (New York Times [free])
Quotes of the Week
“It just keeps getting worse. I feel like these people on the streets have more rights than I do.”
—Matt Siegmund, owner of a family-run store in downtown Eugene, OR—which has essentially legalized hard drugs—in a complaint to the Wall Street Journal about debris left outside his store on a daily basis that often includes feces, needles, and other drug paraphernalia.
“I want to like these people, mostly. Sure, a few of them are grifters and con artists. … It is striking, though, what a parallel reality they live in. … These guys are like the right-wing populists who call themselves ‘patriots’ but hate everything about their country and hate most of the people who live there. They want to live in a Texas that exists only in their minds—one that is nothing like what the actual Republic of Texas was like for all nine years of its brief existence and nothing like the Texas that actually exists here in the real world today.”
—Kevin D. Williamson, native Texan and conservative political commentator for The Dispatch, in an entertaining column about the secessionists he met at the Texas Nationalist Movement conference in Waco earlier this month.