Jim Dunham, Diego, Craig Cohen discussed on Houston Matters


I'm Matt Harrold, Texas Democratic lawmakers arrived in Washington, D. C last night to break quorum of the state's special legislative session. They hope their absence will kill bills that they say what Restrict voting rights in the state. Stay tuned for Houston matters. Craig Cohen and his panel are standing by to discuss the bold move, which has drawn sharp criticism from governor Greg Abbott. Meanwhile, a former Houston police officer has been indicted for allegedly hitting a handcuffed suspect as Florian Martin reports. The incident drew outrage from civil rights advocates and is also subject of a federal lawsuit. Harris County grand jury indicted former HPD Officer Lucas Vieira for aggravated assault by a public servant. The first degree felony chief Trife Inner indefinitely suspended Vera in April days after Andre Howard filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against him alleging excessive force. Both the lawsuit and the criminal indictment accused the era of hitting Howard over the head with a pair of handcuffs while Howard was detained. And body camera video. Vieira can also be heard calling on another officer to shoot. Howard Howard's attorney, Randall Callanan, credits the D A. For the indictment. This is a new era with district Attorney Kim Ogg who is willing to prosecute cases of police misconduct. Unlike some past, district Attorney's another officer was no build, meaning The grand jury thought a criminal charge was not warranted. If convicted, the era faces five years to life in prison. I'm Florian Martin in Houston and Montgomery County Judge will be allowed to continue having volunteer chaplains opened his court proceedings with prayer as he appeals a federal court's ruling, which says the practice violates the First Amendment. Justice of the peace Wayne Max court has started with prayer since March of 2017. He argues its constitutional the lawsuit was brought forward by members of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Who argue prayer in courts violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is allowing Mac to continue having prayer be part of his proceedings as the case continues to move through the higher courts. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he supports Mac 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms This afternoon. These skies should remain sunny, though for a while, we could climb all the way to 93 degrees today, but it's 82 now I'm Matt Arab News 88 7. I know this is Houston matters. I'm Craig Cohen. Good morning. This hour your questions for Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher. We discussed childhood poverty and meet an area coach headed to the Olympics. But we start with Texas Democrats bolting from the special session in Austin and from the state of Texas. The move keeps keeps the Texas House from having a quorum. At least two thirds of lawmakers present to pass bills, which would ban drive through in 24 hour voting. Make mail in voting more difficult, increased criminal penalties for voting mistakes and give partisan poll watchers more authority at voting sites. NPR reports at least 50 of 67 Democratic lawmakers flew to Washington to lobby Congress to pass federal voting protections. The Texas Tribune pegs the number above 51 that matters as that's the number needed to break the quorum. Among them Texas 147th District Democrat Garnet Coleman. He's on the line representative. Good morning. Good morning. Why did you leave Texas? Well, I'm actually be clear that I'm still here in an undisclosed location because of health concerns. Uh, but I'm in solidarity with, uh My colleagues in their flowing up to Washington, D. C. I led the along with two other members are, uh, corn break to Ardmore in 2000 and three I know exactly what they're going through. But the way you do this is what matters is those people who are not on the floor as long as the 900 people on the floor action cannot happen. I'm in the numbers that prevent the, uh, a quorum from being present. That is, unless I mean, if you're if you're still in the state of Texas House speaker did feeling who by the way we invited to join us on today's show, but did not hear back from his office by Showtime, he says the Texas House will use every available resource under the Texas Constitution. And the unanimously passed house rules to secure a quorum, and that includes the ability to arrest you and return you to the house floor if they so choose, so it's a civil Yep. Looks like maybe we just lost Congressman or excuse me, Representative Coleman. We'll see if we can get him back on the line. In the meantime, if we could let's go ahead and go to representative Shaw, so we have represented shot with us today. Penny Morales Shaw, Democrat representing District 148 in the Texas House. Representative. Good Morning. Thank you. Good morning. Good morning. I tried. I tried calling you but I guess you are. Okay. So it looks like maybe we have. No no, I'm here. I'm here. Good morning. Good morning represented Shaw. Thank you. You are in D C right now. Correct? Yes. I actually had to step out of a huge crowd because we just started our press conference here on the steps of the Capitol, But I'm happy to be with you this morning. Why, in your words, was this walkout necessary? Mm. It's necessary for Texas. To finally embrace all of its people. And expand and make consistent laws. That confirms access to voting, and that's not what's happening at the Texas House. We are here to work hard for the people for each of our constituent groups, too. Ask And plead with Congress. She passed laws that will give states oversight, especially if we are being threatened with laws that will further felon eyes. Criminalized and make different voting more difficult than it is in Texas, As you know, has one of the most Stringent election laws already Representative. We were talking with your fellow representative Garnet Coleman from the 147th district, your neighboring district, and he's back on the line with us. Uh, Garnet Coleman. I was asking you, You know that you were staying in the state of Texas and I had pointed out that the House speaker has has basically said that they'll they'll do whatever Is necessary to establish is, uh, quorum, and that includes the ability to arrest you and return you to that's got the bottom part of my leg amputated that they want to drag me onto the floor of the house could let them do it. Are you confident that that you and at least 50 other Texas House Democrats can remain off the house floor indefinitely? Yes, I'm very confident it's not indefinitely. Nothing is indefinitely. I believe that we can do this through this special session and again, remember, it's not that somebody's in Washington D. C is that they're not on the floor. I went through this In 2000 and three with several special sessions. So in lead that group with Diego and Jim Dunham and I can tell you these are stressful things, but I think that my colleagues did the right thing by going to Washington, D. C. And if I could get myself together and that it wasn't in a wheelchair, uh, their idea on playing up there, too. Representative Penny Morales Shaw. What would you like to see happen before you join lawmakers in session again? Well, I'd like to see In which is what we've all like to see. Ever since the first bill came through in June May and his end of May, uh, is that they come to reasonable terms with US and If we want First of all, this is the solution without a problem. It's looking for a problem that doesn't exist. We want them to realize that And if they if their concerns is election fried somewhere hypothetically in the future because it doesn't exist now work it does. It's nominally Then then let's pass the bill for elections. Securitization not Hampering voter access, criminalizing our election workers who go there to uphold democracy. Some of the most commendable people And State or limit access. To voters who maybe work at plants were next to the petrochemical industry or who work in the medical industry.

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