Capitol Office:2910 - Austin , TX 78768-2910 - (512) 463-0572 - Fax: (512) 463-1908
District Office: 3648 FM 1960 W, Suite 106 - Houston , TX 77068 - (281) 537-5252 - Fax: (281) 537-8821
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jon English
June 7, 2007 (512) 463-0572
RIDDLE TO HOST END-OF-SESSION TOWN HALL MEETING
AUSTIN - When you think "Town Hall Meeting", you probably do not
immediately think "funeral home".
But State Representative Debbie Riddle (R- District 150) would like to change that.
"I'm as proud of the bills that I've killed this session as the bills that I've passed," Riddle said. "So what better place to talk
about it than a funeral home?"
Riddle will illustrate that point with a town hall meeting at Brookside Funeral Home, located at 3410 FM 1960 West, on Saturday,
June 23rd, at 10:00am . The public is encouraged to attend.
The meeting will focus on the accomplishments of the recently completed 80th Legislative Session, as well as the individual issues
addressed by Riddle, and what those accomplishments mean to District 150. Riddle said that she believes the funeral home setting
calls attention to the fact that session is not just about passing new legislation.
"The focus afterwards tends to be on what good bills were passed," Riddle said. "But it's easy to forget about all the really bad bills
that almost snuck through that took a lot of fighting to kill. About half your time in Austin is spent monitoring bad legislation that
you want to take down, and I believe my constituents elected me for that purpose as much as for the purpose of passing good
A journalist shield law and a bill to create a statewide "innocence commission" are two bills Riddle points to that were killed when
she struck them down with a procedural maneuver called a "point-of-order". She said she plans on speaking in detail about these
bills, as well as other "behind the scenes" information her constituents may not get anywhere else at the meeting later this month.
"What really sticks out about this session is what we did not address; specifically illegal immigration and appraisal caps," Riddle
said. "To say that I'm disappointed with that is an understatement. But my disappointment does not outweigh my satisfaction
regarding the important issues that were addressed."
Riddle points to criminal justice legislation as being the cornerstone of this session, anchored by House Bill 8, Jessica's Law, which
Riddle authored. The bill makes pedophiles eligible for the death penalty and creates tougher sentencing guidelines for many
"Pure and simple, HB 8 will make Texas safer for our children and more dangerous for their predators," Riddle said.
Passage of the Castle Doctrine, which Riddle joint-authored, and sweeping changes at the Texas Youth Commission were two
other high-profile bills Riddle pointed to as indicators that the legislature has continued to put the safety of Texans first.
"Unfortunately, the same could not be said when it came to illegal immigration." Riddle said.
Although lawmakers passed Senate Bill 11, a border security bill which created the Border Security Council and allotted more
than $100 million to border area law enforcement, most bills dealing with state-level illegal immigration issues were tabled
rather than debated.
Riddle said she filed four different bills which dealt with the state's role in illegal immigration, none of which were given a
chance to pass out of committee. Most notable of the four was a measure to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving in-state
tuition at state universities. After giving more than an hour of testimony before the State Affairs committee, Riddle's bill was
left pending and was never brought up for a vote.
A similar measure was passed by the committee but died on the house floor.
Other anti-illegal immigrant legislation filed by Riddle included a voter identification bill that would have required a photo ID
to cast a vote and proof of citizenship to register to vote. Riddle also authored HB 1012 which would have barred "sanctuary
cities" in Texas and HB 3653 which would have allowed border-area private property owners to contract with the state to build
a fence on their border-side property line.
"This should have been the session for illegal immigration reform, but instead we received important advances to our public
safety in other ways," Riddle said. "I think it's important to recognize the good that was done."
REPRESENTATIVE RIDDLE'S PASSED LEGISLATION: AT A GLANCE
HB 8, Jessica's Law
House Bill 8 allows pedophiles to be eligible for the death penalty and gives prosecutors the tools they need to make sure tha
t criminals who prey on our children will suffer the most extreme consequences.
HB 357 (companion to SB 823):
Allows certain designated police agencies, as well as the Houston Sheriff's Department, to own and operate a device known as a
"pen register" after receiving proper training from the Department of Public Safety. The device allows law enforcement to track
down fugitives in time sensitive situations. HB 1011 (companion to SB 244):
Allows a judge to seal for 30-60 days a search warrant affidavit if it will protect a witness or an investigation.
Adds the words "under God" to the pledge to the Texas flag.
HB 3247 (added as amendment to HB 3584):
Allows for penalties for misdemeanor theft to be increased if the thief sets off a fire alarm or any other alarm in order to cause
panic and help disguise his escape.
HB 3248 (added as an amendment to HB 492):
Allows The Woodlands and ESD 7 in Harris County to negotiate their overlapping boundaries to protect tax payers from double
taxation and duplication of service.
Chief of Staff
State Representative Debbie Riddle