BY: Sean Collins Walsh, American-Statesman Staff
State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, dressed down some of her tea party-aligned colleagues in a fiery speech on the House floor after they objected to a bill she authored that is aimed at identifying victims of human trafficking.
Back story: Thompson’s speech on Thursday came after she had an exchange with the six Republicans who had petitioned to remove her House Bill 2629 from the Local and Consent Calendar, the agenda for non-controversial bills that pass without significant debate.
“Now I’m going to tell you something. I cursed out several members that was on that list. I used some bad words to them. I apologize for the bad words if any of y’all heard them. I didn’t apologize to them,” Thompson said in her nine-minute speech.
Her bill would require beauticians to be trained in identifying signs of human trafficking in their clients. The conservative members objected because it created a new “mandate.” But they did not alert her ahead of time that they planned to raise questions about the bill, Thompson said.
“I understand now what your position is, but you didn’t talk to me before, and that’s why you got that cuss out a little while ago,” she said. “I’m Christian and I’m here on a mission to do the will of God, and it does not mean protecting a pimp. It means I’m going to protect and do everything possible for the victim.”
While the bill is not dead, any minor derailment of legislation can be fatal with just a few weeks to go in the legislative session. The bill has been sent back to the Local and Consent Calendar Committee, where Thompson can amend it and bring it back to the floor.
Those who objected were Reps. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano; Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving; Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, and Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, according to the House Journal. Thompson also mentioned Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Bedford Republican she refers to as “Sticky,” as a part of the group that objected.
That group of conservative GOP lawmakers regularly raises questionsabout bills that otherwise would sail through floor proceedings, oftentimes frustrating their colleagues and slowing the work of the House.