June 25, 2013
Texas Senator Kirk Watson, Chair of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus, released the following statement Tuesday about the Lieutenant Governor’s refusal to call up important legislation with strong, bipartisan support before Senate Bill 5, a divisive bill that threatens the health of Texas women:
The Senate Democratic Caucus stands ready to help Texas address real priorities and necessities that Texans expect the legislature to resolve. It’s very unfortunate that the Lieutenant Governor today insisted on calling up the most divisive bill in the legislature before measures that have widespread support.
Democratic senators have made it clear to the Lieutenant Governor and the Senate that we looked forward to standing with our Republican colleagues, suspending rules and expeditiously taking up Senate Bill 23 (which would resolve a criminal justice issue on sentencing) and Senate Joint Resolution 2 (which, if approved by voters, would result in hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation funding).
Transportation and criminal justice are legitimate priorities that Texans can and should rally around. They exemplify the great things the Senate can accomplish when senators work together to address real issues. They deal with real necessities that people of Texas sent us to Austin to address.
In this, both SB 23 and SJR 2 draw a clear contrast with SB 5, which would jeopardize the health of Texas women and make it much harder for women to get safe, legal and accessible health and abortion services.
Unfortunately, the Lieutenant Governor has chosen to put the damage that SB 5 would do to Texas women ahead of the transportation and criminal justice needs that SJR 2 and SB 23 would help address.
However, the Lieutenant Governor has chosen not to bring these matters to the floor. Instead, he’s chosen to place them behind the red-meat politics of Senate Bill 5 and perhaps force yet another special session. If Democrats are successful in blocking this very harmful bill that threatens the health of Texas women, then the other two worthy measures will die as well.