In a Cowardly Point of Order, Rep. Van Taylor Moves to Maintain Lawlessness on Texas Roadways
During the 2011 Legislative Session, a new law was passed with good intentions but with a devastating unintended consequence. The new law prohibiting the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) from issuing a Driver's License to anyone who could not prove their legal immigration status in the U.S. created perhaps a million unlicensed and uninsured drivers on our roadways. This led to increased hit and run accidents, increased police chases and increases in Texan's uninsured motorists rates.
This legislative session, State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), working closely with Democrat Roberto Alonzo and Republican Senator Tommy Williams carefully crafted a bill that would not only correct that problem but would move Texas forward in documenting and bio-metrically identifying illegal aliens now driving in Texas. The bill would allow the DPS to create a Driving Permit for these undocumented individuals who voluntarily registered, provided a ten-digit fingerprint identification, purchased insurance and passed a driving test.
Chairman Cook was offered the bill as an amendment to SB 1729, a Driver's License bill and was prepared to debate the bill on the House floor with the assistance of other Republicans who are in support of the bill when Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano) blocked the amendment by calling a point of order that somehow a driving permit amendment would not be germane to a driver's license bill.
Van Taylor was concerned that Governor Rick Perry might veto his driver's license bill and wanted the permit amendment stopped. This cowardly action by Taylor may have just been the cause of you being hit in the near future by an uninsured motorist who might have otherwise been properly documented and insured.
After the procedural setback, Chairman Cook has promised to keep fighting for the bill and working to make our roads and highways safer for all Texans.
After the floor fight, Rep. Taylor somehow oddly confused this public safety driving bill with an immigration bill. He talked with a group of reporters about immigration being a federal responsibility. "If, at the end of the day, you have a broken immigration system that is a federal responsibility," Taylor explained, "It's broken and it's a federal responsibility and nothing that we do in Austin can change the real culpability and liability that the federal government has for having an immigration system that is unfair to people that want to come to this country, it's unfair to employers, it's unfair to taxpayers, and I think that's where the problem is." One must wonder if he was even debating the correct bill... Maybe he had some talking points for some other bill.
Mr. Taylor, if you actually were trying to debate the Safe Driver's Bill, you are grossly misinformed. This bill has nothing to do with immigration. It has everything to do with public safety of the residents of Texas and that IS the responsibility of the State of Texas, not the federal government. This bill would do nothing to change anyone's immigration status. It would do nothing to legitimize their presence in the United States. It would simply document them, test them, IDENTIFY THEM, insure them and stop them from the continued lawless behavior of driving on the streets illegally. Right now, they have no choice as there is no way for them to drive legally. We have put in place a forced lawlessness and your cheap parliamentary procedure has done nothing but continue to make the streets and highways of Texas less safe and more lawless.
Rep. Taylor is afraid his bill might be vetoed by Gov. Perry. Why is that? Does Gov. Perry support the idea of hundreds of thousands of undocumented, untested, un-identified, uninsured motorists driving on the roadways of Texas. I highly doubt that, but it appears Rep. Taylor does. Gov. Perry has long ago proven he can boldly lead Texas to do the right thing. It is time that Van Taylor learned this lesson.
This bill is supported by law enforcement. It is supported by business leaders across Texas. It is supported by motorists across Texas that are tired of being hit by uninsured drivers created by a prior law passed with good intentions and a horrible unintended consequence.
It is time for the Texas Legislature to show some leadership and take responsibility for public safety on Texas roadways and add this amendment to SB 1729. Stop the lawlessness and make our highways safer. The uninsured accident you prevent, may just be your own or that of a loved one.