What Lawmakers are Doing with your Time & Tax Dollars

For the last 2 nights at 10, we have shown you just a handful of “ceremonial resolutions” that our elected state leaders have written, presented and passed on the floor of the House and Senate in Austin.  You can watch Wednesday night’s story here.

For time reasons, there were a lot of resolutions we couldn’t include in the TV version of our investigation. Here are some others that we thought you might want to know about:

HCR 172   Author: Rep. Ken Legler (Pasadena)

“Congratualting Michelle Jackson on her selection as the 2009 Cherry Blossom Princess for the State of Texas.” Turns out, Michelle Jackson is the daughter of Sen. Mike Jackson of LaPorte. He passed a few interesting resolutions too. Legler wrote 29 ceremonial reolutions last year.

SCR 7  Author: Mike Jackson (LaPorte)

“Designating the Texas toad as the official State Amphibian of Texas.” Jackson told me that a 4th grade class in Danbury wrote him and asked him to write the toad resolution. He obliged.

SR571   Author: Mike Jackson

“Recognizing April 25, 2009 as Comcast Cares Day.” Jackson said he wrote this resolution after a group of 150 Comcast employees agreed to go to Galveston on a Saturday to help clean up a school there after Hurricane Ike. He said the group also repainted a home in Texas City where 20 handicapped kids live. Jackson wrote 35 ceremonial resolutions last year.

HR1273  Author: Allen Fletcher (Northwest Houston/ Tomball)

“Honoring U.S. Army Specialist Blake Allen Fletcher of Tomball  for his exemplary service to his country.” We discovered Blake is Allen’s son. By phone, Fletcher told me his son had just returned home from the Middle East and was at the Capitol with him when he presented this. Fletcher wrote a total of 12 ceremonial reolutions last year.

HR 2411  Author: Rep. Dennis Bonnen (Angleton)

“Congratulating David and Renee Winder of Midland, Michigan, on the birth of their daughter, Sophia Renee Winder.” When I called Rep. Bonnen’s office to ask him why he would write a Texas resolution for a Michigan family, his secretary who answered the phone said “Oh, I wrote that. That’s my son… and he was Dennis Bonnen’s best man in his wedding.”  Bonnen wrote 25 ceremonial resolutions last year.

HR888  Author: Rep. Harold Dutton

“Honoring Amanda Jane Johnson Dutton of Houston on her 90th birthday.” Dutton did not return my phone calls to confirm that Amanda is, in fact, his mother.

Which Houston-area Representatives and Senators wrote the most?

1) Senator Rodney Ellis authored 118.

2) Rep. Bill callegari authored 74.

3) Rep. Harold Dutton authored 73.

4) Rep. Al Edwards authored 58.

5) Rep. Garnet Coleman authored 44.

Who wrote the least?

1) Rep. Joe Crabb, Rep. Gary Elkins & Rep. Ana Hernandez tie- none wrote any ceremonial resolutions.

2) Rep. Larry Taylor wrote 1.

3) Rep. Randy Weber wrote 2.

4) Rep. Jessica Farrar & Rep. Kristi Thibaut tied- writing 3 each.

5) Rep. Patricia Harless & Rep. Alma Allen tied- writing 4 each.

Now- what do  you think? Should lawmakers cut back  how much time they spend on these ceremonial resolutions? (Last year, it equaled about 3 weeks of 8-hour days). Or do you think it’s a good use of their time at the Capitol?

I want your comments!


One Response

  1. Great expose on how our elected officials are wasting taxpayer money on these special resolutions. You should do the same research on Houston city council. Every time I have been to a city council meeting, they have spent an inordinate amount of time honoring people and groups with special resolutions / proclamations. How much time and resources does that consume?

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