Two Texas state senators and four state representatives have been named to the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) “Hall of Shame” for their actions in the 84th Legislative Session. One of the senators, two-time loser Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), resigned at the beginning of the session to chase her political future down the drain.
The Class of 2015 includes State Senators Kirk Watson (D-Austin) and Van de Putte. House colleagues Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Jessica Farrar (D-Houston), and Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) join them. Pickett has the double distinction of also having been named one of the 10 worst legislators by Texas Monthly.
“It’s disappointing that these Democrats expended so much energy this session working against the values of Texans,” said RPT Chairman Tom Mechler in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “From fighting to continue to fund disgraced Austin DA Rosemary Lehmberg, to attempting to undo landmark pro-life legislation that was passed by Republicans, this group embarrassed not only themselves, but also the entire Democratic Party by their actions.”
Pickett earned his double negative award after a stunt that he attempted to pull against State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) blew up in his face. Pickett, chairman of the powerful Transportation Committee, ordered his staff to call Stickland’s office using a fake name and attempt to register to speak on a red light camera bill that was to be heard that day in the House committee.
Pickett refused to allow testimony on the bill (HB 142) and, in the now famous video (below), threw Stickland out of the committee hearing while accusing him of committing a crime. An investigation later revealed Stickland had broken no laws or violated any House rules.
Senator Watson earned his placement in the Hall of Shame after his grandstanding to stop the removal of funding from the disgraced Travis County District Attorney’s Office. Watson opposed removing the powers of the DA’s Public Integrity Unit and moving them beyond the control of the politically motivated district attorneys who pursued political persecutions against former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and now former Governor Rick Perry. His efforts eventually failed and the legislature approved stripping the power away from the Travis County DA.
Rep. Herrero achieved his piece of political history for being what the RPT called “the strongest public advocate against providing school choice” in the past two legislative sessions. The party named Herrero as the “poster child against school choice.”
Rep. Terry Canales found his seat at the table through his very odd battle to keep pensions in place for elected officials who have been convicted of a felony. In a move he later admitted he played just to kill time, Canales argued that an elected official should not lose his or her entire pension just because of a conviction in the final year in office. He later joined his fellow legislators in voting 142-0 to approve HB 681. The move was to draw out debate on the final day of hearing bills facing a midnight deadline.
Former Senator Leticia Van de Putte stumbled her way into the Hall of Shame despite her resignation early in the session. She announced she would resign to run for mayor of San Antonio shortly after losing badly in her race for lieutenant governor against then-fellow Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston). San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor easily defeated the two-time loser in a runoff election by a vote of 52-48.
Last, and certainly not least, is Rep. Jessica Farrar. The pro-abortion advocate continued her long history of working to make killing unborn babies easier. She authored HB 708 in an attempt to strike the phrase “unborn child” from all state laws and informed-consent materials. She sought to replace the wording with the phrase “embryo or fetus.” Texas Right to Life called the bill Farrar’s attempt to “dehumanize” the child in the womb. Farrar also worked against legislation that would force Texas judges to reveal the number of “judicial bypasses” they approve. Minors use judicial bypasses to get approval for an abortion without parental consent or involvement. House Bill 3994 would eventually pass and be signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott.
Chairman Mechler concluded, “Although the 84th Legislative Session is over, the abominable actions of these liberal legislators will live on in infamy.”
This article has been updated.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.