AWOL Members Thwart Democracy; Waste Taxpayers Dollars

Organizations representing over 500,000 Texas citizens gathered in front of the Capitol today to discuss legislation which will likely be killed if the House does not have a quorum by Thursday.

Representing the 25,000 Texas members of Citizens for a Sound Economy, Peggy Venable said time was running out and precious tax dollars are being wasted as these legislators hide out in Oklahoma. It costs us $365,000 day to run government when the Legislature is in Session and a special session will cost us conservatively $1.7 million,” said Venable. “This is money Texas taxpayers should not have to absorb. Democracy works only when legislators are working.”

Janelle Shepard, representing the Texas Women’s Alliance, said, “The state budget will not be balanced without the passage of House Bill 2 which represents $240,341,090 of savings. This could have been added to the overwhelming Health and Human Services budget for the children, poor, and elderly of our state.”

Representing the Young Conservatives of Texas, Matt Mattox, cited HB 2988 as one of the bills axed by the AWOL House members. He said this bill would bring outdated public health preparedness up to today’s post-September 11 standards. The bill also addresses how the state handles disease outbreaks such as SARS.

Representing local school boards, Clayton Trotter said that schoolchildren will suffer from the walk-out.

Jim Cardle, president of the Texas Citizen Action Network, said, “What is being called a walk-out over redistricting is anything but that. Some of these members have been disrupting the process all session by putting a record 400 amendments on the House budget and that many amendments also put on the tort reform legislation.”

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Media Note:

Participating organizations and contact information included:

Alliance for Sound Education Policy – Dr. Forrest Watson, President, 512-801-0342

Texas Citizen Action Network – Jim Cardle, President, 512/608-0083

Texas Justice Foundation – Clayton Trotter, (210) 859-2592

Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy – Peggy Venable, Director, 512/476-5905

National Federation of Independent Business – Jeff Clark, President, 512/476-9847

Texas Hispanic Advocate – Jorge Uresti, 903-521-3866

Coalition of Average Americans United for Stronger Education – Kyev Tatum 512-557-2892

Texas Women’s Alliance – Janelle Shepard, 817-875-4502

Young Conservatives of Texas –Matt Mattox, President, 713-256-7951