Monday, May 16, 2005

Minority Shutout is no Secret to Pro-Tem

Diversity was not the theme when House Speaker Tom Craddick (R-Midland) named the conference committee appointees for HB 2 and HB 3 on Friday. Now the fate of the school finance plan will rest partially in the hands of nine white males and a single white female; all Republicans.
The limited scope of these committees has not gone unnoticed by many, including Speaker Pro Tempore, Sylvester Turner (D-Houston).
“I’m disappointed there aren’t any minorities, especially when a large
percentage of public schools are made up of Hispanics, African-Americans, and
Asians,” said Turner.
The repercussions of this partisan representation are not hard to imagine, even for the House’s second in command. “[We] can’t look for any support of African-Americans, Hispanics, or Democrats,” said Turner.
The Speaker Pro-Tem noted Texas’ rapidly increasing minority population as an important reason minority representation in these committees is needed. “[It] can’t be all one party or the other…and exclude minorities. Not in 2005 it can’t,” said Turner.
The Senate conference committee appointees for HB 2 and HB 3 were named today, displaying some much needed bipartisan representation. Though the House and the Senate committees will work in conjunction on these bills to develop a reasonable solution for Texas, one must wonder how the sway to the right will affect yet another piece of legislation.