Capitol Notebook

Pearls and Swine

“Nevertheless, I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the lookout for politicians in favor of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy.”

– Patricia Madrid, New Mexico Attorney General, after declining a request by Texas to round up the Killer Ds.

“I have to come here more often, you get more press than we do in the Senate.”

– Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst at a press conference in the House Speaker’s Committee Room with Speaker Tom Craddick on the Ethics legislation.

“What will be remembered is that a handful of extremists hijacked state government on issue after issue, but nowhere [is that] more evident than in the state budget.”

– Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) on HB 7, the supplemental budget bill.

“It’s an insult to tell women what they can do with their lives. You’re saying, ‘Women, you’re idiots.'”

– Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) on House Bill 15, which would require women to wait 24 hours for an abortion, among other punitive measures.

“When you put your head on your pillow tonight don’t go to sleep with the comfort that, ‘well, we couldn’t do anything else because the House wasn’t going to send us a tax bill. We don’t have any options.’ Well, you did have an option.”

– Sen. Bill Ratliff (R-Mt. Pleasant) during debate on the budget.

“I get up every day and thank God I don’t live in California.”

– Gov. Rick Perry, comparing the budget problems of the Golden State to Texas.

“I’m sure there are millions of Californians who wake up every day and are glad of that, too.”

– Hilary McLean, chief deputy press secretary to California Gov. Gray Davis, responding to Gov. Perry.

“It looks like a blind, drunk sailor drew the 18th district. It’s as if to say, these people don’t deserve to have a community. They don’t deserve to be represented.”

– Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio) on redistricting.

“I’m not playing with this amendment…Let the little dogs get to the table. The big dogs have eaten enough.”

– Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) during the tort deform debate on HB 4.

“There are only two people I know of on the committee that speak Spanish. The rest of us would have a very difficult time if we were out in an area–other than Austin or other English-speaking areas–to be able to have committee hearings or to be able to converse with people that did not speak English.”

–- Rep. Joe Crabb (R-Atascocita) answering a question by Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) about whether he intended to hold redistricting hearings around the state.

“If you’re used to getting a government subsidy, you don’t like it when you don’t get it. But it doesn’t mean you’re going to be harmed. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be without any other options.”

– Texas GOP Chair Susan Weddington quoted in the Houston Chronicle from a tape of an executive committee meeting. She added that families who lose Children’s Health Insurance Program coverage would buy their own and “maybe have a little less disposable income or a little less inheritance from Mom and Dad.”

“If one grandmother who really needs our help is put out on the street, then I will personally go get her and take her into my home.”

– Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) during the budget debate.

“You better get a big car.”

– Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso).

“Even though my signature was on it, I didn’t sign it.”

– U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land) trying to distance himself from an anti-union fundraising letter that went out under his name.

“This is Big Brother watching over your safety.”

– Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) on SB 945, a bill that would give DPS the power to create a biometrics database of every Texan with a driver’s license.

“The chair will hear excuses from maps, um, members.”

– Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville), June 1, after roll call.

“We have a population which is closely tied to South and Central America where cultural ideas about the use of some of these substances is far different from the normal Texas point of view.”

– Harris County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Chuck Noll testifying before the House Corrections Committee against a bill that would mandate drug treatment.

“I am the federal government.”

– U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Sugar Land), when informed by a Washington, D.C., restaurant owner that smoking a cigar on the premises violated federal law, as reported in the Washington Post.

“They’re legislative terrorists and their leaving today is a weapon of mass obstruction, blocking hundreds of pieces of legislation.”

– Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas), after the walkout.

“Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell. And it’s cleverly disguised as having a tender heart. It’s not a tender heart. It’s ripping the heart out of this country.”

– Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Houston), as quoted in the El Paso Times after a March 5 hearing of the House Border Affairs Committee.

Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.

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Published at 12:00 am CST
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