First Lady Michelle Obama visited San Antonio last week and the state legislator who extended the invitation was not able to greet Mrs. Obama at the airport. She would like us to know she is not pleased with that turn of events.
On Wednesday, as lawmakers grew increasingly edgy over a growing list of contentious legislation, Sens. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, and Royce West, D-Dallas, asked for permission to leave for several hours to greet Obama as she made a stop in the Alamo City.
Van de Putte said she had invited Obama to "see what Texas is doing to support military families" in a city with several military installations and thousands of active-duty and veterans' families.
Senator Van de Putte asked to be "accommodated", which means she requested that a controversial bill would not be brought up in her absence. This particular bill up for vote would allow concealed weapons to be carried on state college campuses. Senator Jeff Wentworth, representing south Travis county, signaled he would bring up the bill for vote, needing 21 votes to do so. Senate Bill 354 failed to hit the 21 vote mark twice in earlier attempts.
Lt Gov Dewhurst, who presides over the state senate, signaled he would not extend the courtesy. Though it normally extended, this is a bill under much scrutiny and thought to be very close. Houston area senator John Whitmire was suggested to step in and vote no to keep the status quo, should Van de Putte be absent and known as a no vote. Whitmire refused to play. He actually supports the bill and wasn't going to send any conflicting messages.
So, there you have it. The Texas state legislature is making some tough choices and working on important bills to slog through the session. Is it too much to expect the state's elected representatives to be present and ready to vote? Vanity appearances with the First Lady are nice but shouldn't be the first priority.