Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Oh I say!

State Troopers and Texas Rangers have been put on alert to find and detain 59 Texan Democrats, who staged a walkout from the state legislature on Monday. It was a move that came too late as the missing lawmakers were already over the border staying at a hotel in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where they plan to stay until the deadline for first passage of bills had passed.

And it's all over redistricting.

Apparently the Republicans won a majority in the Texas legislature and now want to redistrict in such a way that they will gain 5 extra seats. This despite the Texan redistricting should have happened two years ago but as a result of political shenanigans was put into the hands of the Courts. The newly elected Republican's, at the behest of their leaders in Washington, feel that the even handed approach of the Courts is not to be trusted and so their version (giving them the extra seats) is much more favourable and fair. Can you spell gerrimandered?

The down side of this is that several other important bills will also be scuppered by the walkout.

However, I can see the point of the Democrats actions. Within the package there are a number of bills that are aimed at giving extra benefits to the haves whilst reducing the benfits to the have-nots. (The Republicans want to push through a budget that will slash public spending but not raise taxes, and also another bill to put limits on lawsuits). The Republicans have acquired a huge majority, much like the one the Tories under Thatcher had, and are using that to force through legislation, much like the Tories did under... well you get the picture. The only way the Democrates have of stopping unpleasant legislation is to stop the House being quorate and this they are doing very effectively. That the leader of he House has ordered the law enforcment agencies to find and arrest these objectors raises serious concerns over the future of democracy in Texas.

Read more about this here and here and here and on many other sites listed at Google

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