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Ruin Naga International Headquarters Come Visit us for LUNCH! In addition to our organic coffee, pizzas, empanadas, pastries and pies, we now prepare made to order sandwiches, salads, and even black bean gazpacho. 3601 S. Congress off E. Alpine Penn Field under the water tower check oar site for monthly calendar BAD BILLS ROUND ‘EM UP House Bills 254 & 261 Rep. Leo Berman, R -Tyler On Feb. 18, Texas Employers for Immigration Reform held a debate between Reps. Leo Berman, a Tyler Republican, and Rafael Anchia, a Dallas Democrat. Afterward, Harry Joe, an immigration lawyer with the Dallas-based Winstead firm, approached Berman with questions about legislation he had discussed. The exchange took a turn for the worse, within earshot of a Dallas Morning News reporter. Joe called Berman “despicable” and “evil,” and Berman replied by telling Joe, a Chinese-American, to “kiss my ass” and “go home.” “I don’t think he meant, ‘Go home to your house in Preston Hollow:” Joe later told the Observer. The bill in question, House Bill 254, would require illegal immigrants to live in “sanctuary cities:’ Joe’s interpretation: “He wants to round them up and force them to live someplace:’ Don’t bother attempting to fathom the logistics and cost of such an operation, because not even Berman expects HB 254 to get anywhere. “I was trying to make a point to the mayors of self-declared `sanctuary cities’ in Texas, who are in clear violation of U.S. and state law:’ Berman says, “that if you want to support illegal aliens, we’ll send them all to your city. I think my point has been made:’ Still, reports that Berman has withdrawn the bill are erroneous. “I haven’t withdrawn it,” he says. “I’m just not going to push it. There’s a big difference:’ Berman isn’t letting sanctuary cities off the hook. “There’s a second bill,” he says, “and that one we’re going to push:’ That second bill is House Bill 261, which doesn’t include the term “sanctuary cities:’ but cuts off state funding to local entities that match the definition of the term in HB 254. “Sanctuary city” is not a legal designation. HB 254 defines it 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 6, 2009 as “a municipality that adopts a resolution declaring that the municipality does not discriminate or deny municipal services on the basis of a person’s immigration status and that all persons are treated equally regardless of immigration status.” “These cities know who they are Berman says. Austin, whose City Council declared it a “safety zone” in 1997, would surely be included. A 2006 report by the Congressional Research Service also listed Houston and Katy as sanctuary cities. Dallas and San Antonio, which bar police from asking people about their immigration status unless they’ve been charged with a crime, would likely make the list. Berman’s proposals are two of eight bills the representative has filed to make life difficult for undocumented immigrants. Others would deny immigrants’ children U.S. citizenship, keep them out of state colleges and universities, and require documentation for public school students. The ACLU hopes to dissuade aggravated state legislators from making immigration policy, which historically has been the responsibility of the federal government. “We understand that state and local municipalities are frustrated:’ says Laura Martin, policy analyst with the Texas ACLU, “but this fails to get at the root of the issue, which is federal inaction:’ Reeve Hamilton FREE THE ISDs Senate Bill 300 Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston No one can accuse Dan Patrick of linguistic inefficiency. In Senate Bill 300, Patrick manages to reverse five school mandates by striking eight words and adding just 27 to the Texas Education Code. Patrick’s bill would overturn the rule, in effect since the 1980s, requiring elementary classrooms to maintain a 22-to-1 student-teacher ratio. Rather than capping each class at 22 students, Patrick’s bill would allow districts to have a campuswide average of 22 students per teacher. The bill would also increase the number of schools exempt from the 22-to-1 rule. Currently, districts that have received an “exemplary” rating from the Texas Education Agency are exempt from many school mandates, including the elementary class size limit. SB 300 would also exempt districts rated as “recognized:’ ‘Any measure that seeks to water down the 22-to-1 student ratio would be a grave disservice to our students:’ says Larry Corner, spokesman for the Association of Texas Professional Educators. “Trying to manage 22 6-, 7and 8-year-olds is enough in and of itself. Its already difficult for teachers to have one-on-one time with students who need help:’ Court Koenning, Patrick’s spokesman, says the mandates are cramping school districts’ styles. “School districts should have the flexibility to do what they think is in the best interest of their districts and the taxpayers,” he says. The bill would also reverse two energy-efficiency mandates passed in 2007. One requires schools to reduce energy consumption by 5 percent each year for six years, beginning in