Homer fumes over lawmaker's tactics
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

June 29, 2005 -- It's been said for years that making legislation is like making sausage -- you don't want to know what goes into it.

State Rep. Mark Homer, in Austin for the special session of the legislature to address school finance, got a close look at the recipe for school finance legislation and did not like what he saw.

Homer said the leadership chairman, Rep. Kent Grusendorf, intended to run a bill through a committee and the House as fast as possible

"He ran over his committee without allowing them to offer any amendments, and his intent was to do the same thing on the House floor," Homer said. "That is not what I was elected to do, to allow somebody to do this. This is a democracy we live in, it is not a dictatorship, and I don't intend for it to ever become that, but that is what they are trying to do."

Homer said Rep. Grusendorf was asked by other representatives if he was going to try to push the bill through the House like he did in committee by not recognizing anyone for an amendment. He reportedly said if he knew he could, he would, that his intent was to not change his bill at all and all he wanted to do was get to the House-Senate conference to write the school finance bill.

"You know, that is too important an issue to just reduce it to 10 people and cut the other 171 members out of the process," Homer said. "That is not the way it is supposed to work."

Although the House passed its version of the school finance bill late Tuesday, the state senate must approve a similar package before a final bill would be sent to Gov. Perry. If a school finance bill does not get approval in both houses of the state legislature, Homer said, another special session might be called.

"The reason that I am mad is we have been cut out of the process," he said. "If you were not a player in Mr. Grusendorf's little circle -- and that doesn't mean all Democrats, there are Republicans that have been cut out of this thing as well -- you just don't know, and I would say Monday made it more difficult because the attitude is still 'my way or the highway.'"

Rep. Homer said tactics being used to pass the school funding legislation were far removed from any resemblance to the Democratic process.

"It is incredibly ironic to me that we are sending our best and brightest over to Iraq to fight a war for a country that wants to become a democracy and have their voice heard on an individual basis," he said. "Here in Texas, we are being shut down in our own country and our voices are being stifled or muzzled, and it is incredibly angering. It just makes you mad to see that it is being allowed."

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