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Statehouse Rock: How One Senator Can Stop a Good Bill from Becoming Law

“I’m just a bill…it’s a long long journey to the capital city”-- it’s how many of us learned the process of how a bill becomes law.

But in the GOP-controlled Texas legislature, things aren’t as straight forward.

Currently, State Senator Konni Burton (SD10 – Colleyville) is using the remnants of a Senate rule to block an anti-texting while driving bill that would easily pass if it reached the Senate floor and would ultimately save Texans’ lives, prevent horrible injuries and save taxpayer dollars.

The texting while driving bill isn’t partisan and isn’t even particularly controversial. It passed the State House easily with strong Republican and Democratic support. Three Republican Senators have signed onto the bill as cosponsors. If it could get to the Senate floor, the bill would easily win majority support from the 31 Senators.

However, Burton is not budging. She's working to line up 12 other members of the Senate, and they would be just enough to keep the bill off the floor under Senate rules.

The reason for broad and bipartisan support for a texting while driving ban is clear enough: texting while driving was responsible for over 1,000 traffic accidents in 2015 alone.

During the House debate over the texting while driving ban, the House Transportation Committee heard emotional and powerful testimony from family members who have lost loved ones because a driver wouldn’t put down their phone. The House passed the bill by more than a three to one margin - 114-32, showing broad bi-partisan support for a measure that, according to a 2014 poll, 60% of all Texans support.

Facts and the opinion of most Texans don’t seem to matter to Konni Burton. She knows the commonsense texting while driving restriction isn’t “just a bill” that we “hope and pray” will become law – it’s a lifesaving proposal that will spare Texas families from the horror and hardship of losing a loved one.

During her short time in the State Senate, Burton has been driven more by extreme and close-minded ideology than any desire to solve problems. In fact, she used the Senate rules tactic to block a commonsense texting ban during the 2015 legislative session.

Konni Burton is hopelessly lost on the texting while driving issue, and judgment on her will be up to Senate District 10 voters in 2018. However, Burton is trying to convince 12 other Senators to join her efforts to block the safety measure. We urge you to contact your Senator and tell them to cut off Konni and save lives by backing the texting while driving ban.

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