02 May, 2009

Capitol Friday

Our rag-tag band of students continued lobbying against guns on our campuses yesterday. Several staffers asked us for business cards and I had to explain that we are the grassroots of the grassroots, simply a bunch of students trying to make our voices heard. No expense accounts, no business cards, unlike the NRA & TxRA folks.

As it stands HB1893 is out of the in the House Calendars committee who will schedule it for a floor vote soon. There are just over two weeks left in the session and we learned the bill has been fast-tracked. There are enough co-authors on the committee to get it to a floor vote without any effort.

On the Senate side, SB1164 is currently under consideration in the State Affairs Committee, who some of us testified before this week. Again, there are enough co-authors on the committee to bounce it right to a floor vote.

Seriously, everybody and their mother signed on as an author of these bills. I'm all for bipartisanship, but this is ridiculous.

If you are a student, call your Rep. and Sen. You can find out who that is at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/

Have your PARENTS call and have them call Sen. Robert Duncan, who chairs State Affairs and who wants to hear from parents: (512) 463-0128 or Toll Free (800) 322-9538

If you are FACULTY at a Texas public college or uni and are hamstrung by the gag order, have your FAMILY and FRIENDS call!

Seriously, a call takes a few minutes, people.
I've had a lot of folks tell me "Don't worry. It'll never pass." That is not the vibe I get when lobbying, so please speak out.
No guns in our schools.

27 April, 2009

A Day on the Hill

Not a bad day at the Capitol today. Difficult to get a sizable student turnout at the end of a semester, but our side was well represented. The Senate committee had just started discussing the bill we oppose, SB1164, when they had to recess for the regular Senate session. That gave us time to lobby Senate offices before the committee reconvened.

Actually spoke to a legislator, one of the authors of the bill, Sen. Estes, who took time to hear my opposing arguments and was quite gracious, thanking me for bothering to come out and be a part of the process. A few of us had the chance to give testimony to the committee, which was interesting. I did have to gently scold Sen. Wentworth, sitting beside me when I gave testimony, for making assumptions about those opposed to his bill. I asked him to please hear us out since we'd taken the time to listen to him. I think he was a bit taken aback. I even took time to have a civil conversation with two of those testifying in support of the bill. We were readily able to agree that though we disagreed we all need to remember how to treat each other with respect.

The best part was that today was lobby day for members of the Texas branch of the National Association of Social Workers, so there were social workers all over the Capitol dressed in turquoise. I introduced myself to a few as a social work student and they sprang into action, as social workers do, and rounded up the majority of their group in the rotunda. So there I was shouting marching orders to maybe a hundred people about what to lobby against (concealed weapons on campus) and what to lobby for (closing the mental health loophole in gun licensing). I even got a round of applause.

So, we'll keep on with our little grassroots lobbying and consciousness raising effort.
Again, if you're in Texas and don't think concealed weapons have a place in classrooms, contact your Representative (NO on HB1893!) and Senator (NO on SB 1164!). Please, no guns on our campuses.

26 April, 2009

Full Frontal Assault on Texas Senate - NO GUNS ON CAMPUS, PLEASE!

If anybody reading this is A) in Texas B) thinks concealed weapons on a school campus is a crazy idea C) has some free time Monday and D) can make it to Austin please, PLEASE come down to the Capitol in the morning! The Senate State Affairs Committee is holding a public hearing on SB1164, the Senate component of HB1893, both of which seek to allow concealed weapons to be brought onto university campuses throughout the state. Private schools would be able to opt out; public universities, mine included, would not.

I do not have a problem with guns. I can enjoy an afternoon at the range as much as the next person. I do not want to repeal the second amendment. Though I would love to reincarnate the "Founding Fathers" and take them to a gun show and hear what they have to say about all this.

I do not want to take anybody's guns. All I ask is that you leave your weapons at home when you come to class.

If you can make it, join me at the Capitol tomorrow and let your voice be heard. Last time some of us tried to sit in on a public meeting, the NRA managed to twist arms and shut it down. Hopefully, this time they will allow those of us opposed to this legislation our part in the process.
See you under the dome.

Y'All'll Miss Us If We Go!

You+All+Will= Y'all'll