Tomball State Rep. Debbie Riddle Camps Out at the Capital - First to the gate with 6 bills targeting illegal immigrants in Texas
Tomball State Representative Debbie Riddle literally camped out in Austin to get her bill posted and numbered first. This is following up on a campaign promise to her constituents. She posted several bills. For the purpose of this posting, I will discuss the six bills which touch on the topic of illegal immigrants in living and working in Texas. The reason for the "camp out" was to give her bills the symbolic "low number" on the bills. The first 15 bill numbers are reserved for the Speaker to assign to bills he or she feels are important.
HB 16 - VOTER ID
Voters have been clamoring for voter ID for the past two sessions. It was passed in the house in 2007 and in the senate until Lt. Governor Dewhurst gave Sen. Whitmire a "do over" on the vote and the Dems wheeled Sen. Gallegos into the senate floor on a gurney and let him cast the defeating vote.
In 2009 the opposite happened with the senate passing the bill and the Democrats pulling a procedural stunt to kill it in the house.
The overwhelming majority of Texas voters support voter ID. Now it is time to pass it.
The new bill requires the voter to present a photo ID from an acceptable source, or two non-photo ID's from an acceptable source.
HB 17 - Criminal Trespass
This bill makes the presence of an illegal alien in the state of Texas a separate offense, criminal tresspass, which can be added to a charge for which a person is already being arrested.
In other words, this bill gives a police officer who is already arresting a person for some other offense (an offense for which they may arrest without a warrant) may, upon reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally, may inquire as to the suspects immigration status and if the officer can verify an illegal status with ICE, the person may be charged with the additional crime of illegal trespass.
Before and arrest can be made on this charge, the officer must verify their status with ICE. This bill cannot be used as a reason for first contact with a suspect.
HB 18 - Eliminate Sanctuary Cities
HB 18 prohibits any city, county or other jurisdictional body from adopting a rule, order, ordinance or policy which says the entity will not fully enforce laws relating to immigrants or immigration.
The bill also cuts off state funds to any entity which adopts such a rule or policy. It also provides the Attorney General with a process and capability to enforce this bill.
HB 19 - Driving Without a License
This bill provides penalties for a person who operates a vehicle in the State of Texas who does not have a driver's license issue to them and provides for the impoundment of certain vehicles involved in an accident. It raises the status of the crime to a class B misdemeanor if the driver is involved in a motor vehicle accident.
It also provides that the vehicle cannot be released from impoundment without proof of insurance.
HB 21 and HB 22 - Reporting on Illegal Aliens by State Agencies and Public Schools
These two bill are grouped together by me as they accomplish similar functions. These bill require state agencies and public schools who are providing services to illegal aliens to gather information and report this information to the state for the purpose of measuring the impact of illegal immigration as a cost to the state for providing the services described in the bills.