Image: State Representative Briscoe Cain, Republican of Deer Park, never backs down from a good conservative cause.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Deer Park and Austin, December 16 – Many Texas legislators, Governor Greg Abbott, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick have grabbed the pretext of fear of the Chinese Coronavirus to attempt to close the Texas State Capitol to the public during the upcoming 87th Texas Legislature, which is to open on January 12, 2020. Citizen participation and vigilance in the legislative process, however, is essential to proper representation by state legislators, especially during the Texas Legislature’s session, the most dangerous period of time for all Texas citizens, particularly those who pay taxes.
State Representative Briscoe Cain, Republican of Deer Park, who has one of the strongest conservative voting records of any Texas legislator, struck back this week against efforts to close the Texas Capital to citizen participation during the 87th Legislative Session. Cain, in his official capacity as a legislator, asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for an opinion whether the Texas Capitol must be open to allow all citizens the right to petition their government.
Article III, § 16 of the Texas Constitution states that “the sessions of each House shall be open, except the Senate when in Executive session.” As Cain noted in his request for an opinion, the House and Senate may adopt rules of governance under Chapter 301 of the Government Code. Currently, the 86th Legislature, which met in 2019, imposes rules that require the House and Senate chambers and committee hearings to be open to the public.
Cain’s letter request for an opinion places Attorney General Paxton in a quandary: either the Attorney General must uphold the provisions of the Texas Constitution as well as basic constitutional rights under the United States Constitution or he must succumb, as has Governor Abbott, to the Chinese Coronavirus panic.
Cain submitted the letter request to General Paxton on December 14, 2020, four weeks before the opening of the 87th Texas Legislature and requested a “prompt” response. A full copy of Cain’s letter follows.