Hancock gets traditional freshman razzing on Senate floor

Posted Thursday, Apr. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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AUSTIN - Freshman Sen. Kelly Hancock was scolded, ridiculed and reprimanded by his colleagues on the Senate floor on Wednesday - and he took it all with smiles and laughter.

It was the traditional hazing that lawmakers mete out to freshmen members when they try to pass their first bill. After three months in the Senate, Hancock faced his turn when he asked fellow senators to pass a bill that would allow law officers at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport to use sirens and flashing lights when conducting escorts.

Hancock's North Texas colleagues hammered the North Richland Hills Republican with faux criticism as they complained that the former House member hadn't consulted with them before trying to subject their constituents to police lights and blaring sirens.

"You're saying you don't respect your elders - is that what you're saying?" said Sen. Royce West, R-Dallas, with a prosecutorial glare.

"Absolutely I do," Hancock responded good-naturedly. "And I'm learning to do that more and more each and every day."

West asked Hancock if he planned to consult with neighboring Sen. Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat. "I look forward to her leadership on this as well," Hancock said.

Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, whose district also neighbors Hancock's, pointedly told the freshman senator that "we have a tradition in the Senate that we respect each other's district." But the hazing backfired on Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, when he sought to describe Nelson as a "senior senator" but errantly called her a "senior citizen."

Nelson quickly turned to the embarrassed Eltife. "I was going to direct all of my wrath to the freshman, but ... Sen. Eltife, I'm saving some of that for you" Nelson said.

"I'm not even trying to dig out of this hole," Eltife said later. "I'm just trying to get off the floor today."

Dave Montgomery is the Star-Telegram's Austin Bureau chief, 512-739-4471

Twitter: @daveymontgomery

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