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Uvalde Senator Left Off Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans

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State Senator Roland Gutierrez interrupts a news conference held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at Uvalde High School on May 27, 2022 | Image by Reuters

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After receiving a request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) to create a special committee to concentrate on school security, mental health, social media, officer training, and gun security, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick published his list of committee members on Wednesday afternoon.

Abbott’s request came in the aftermath of the mass school shooting in Uvalde that resulted in the murder of 19 children and two teachers.

The Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans comprises:

  • Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville), Chair
  • Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Co-Vice Chair
  • Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Co-Vice Chair
  • Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
  • Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston)
  • Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels)
  • Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler)
  • Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
  • Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas)
  • Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)

Notable to some was the exclusion from the committee of state senators Larry Taylor (R-Galveston), Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), and César J. Blanco (D-El Paso), despite representing areas that have experienced recent mass shootings.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Patrick defended his choices, saying the committee members “represent a cross-section of school districts and communities of all sizes across the state.”

Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, wrote on Twitter Thursday morning that Uvalde’s lack of representation on the committee was a “slap in the face.”

“These special committee assignments are a slap in the face of the people of Uvalde. It’s also a slap in the face to the people of Santa Fe and El Paso because they don’t have a voice on this committee either,” Gutierrez wrote.

“This is just a stall tactic from Gov. Abbott. We already know what happens, we know why it happens, and we know what needs to be done to stop it from happening the next time. We don’t need another Blue Ribbon committee. We need a special session so that we can start crafting common-sense solutions right now that are going to keep our kids safe,” he added.

Governor Abbott has also called on Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan to form a special committee over the same issue. Patrick said the two committees would coordinate to hold hearings on the same dates to accommodate witnesses who will testify.

Patrick said the Senate committee’s first hearing is expected to be held on June 23 so that families and community members of Uvalde who may wish to testify or take part have time to complete memorials and funerals.

Gutierrez argues that the committees will be ineffective because they cannot pass legislation and are not being asked to discuss potential gun regulation reform. The senator claims a special session is needed to address the issue effectively.

“This is a special legislative committee, which, by the way — we’ve never had one of these before,” Gutierrez said on MSNBC Wednesday. “This is meaningless. Without a session, we can’t act.”        

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Get Real
Get Real
3 months ago

Sounds like Gov. Abbott will have his Kangaroo Committee that will do nothing to keep assault fire arms out of the hands of imbalanced teenagers.

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