Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Texas Sized Disgrace in the Legislature

In spite of negative publicity about it in the previous legislative session, members of the Texas General Assembly are continuing the practice of having others cast votes for them when they are not in the Chamber. According to a Dallas Morning News report, in one recent incident nine members voted even though they were not in the Chamber, and evidently eight of them were not even on the capital grounds.

Technology that was purchased to deal with the issue following the negative publicity has never been installed, and legislative leaders continue to insist that it is unnecessary. On a bipartisan basis, they insist that it is just too inconvenient to actually expect them to show up for roll calls, and they are dismissive of suggestions that the practice is both open to abuse and delegitimizes the legislative process.

However, one might suggest that if members of the legislature think that it is not necessary to be present to vote, perhaps at the next election they should be offered parting gifts.

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