It was like old times in the Texas House last week.
Former Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, was on the House floor, talking to her old colleagues.
Patrick, who lost her re-election bid last year in the GOP primary to Tony Tinderholt, was there to be honored.
House members passed a resolution honoring Patrick for being the namesake of a new elementary school — the Diane Patrick Elementary which will open this fall on Timber Oaks Lane in Arlington.
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Several local House members spoke in support, including Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth, who said Patrick was a mentor to her, and Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, whose district is the site of the new school.
“This is very appropriate,” Turner said. “It’s named after a long-time, very accomplished educator.”
It’s almost time for the annual Congressional Baseball Game where Democratic and Republican members – not staff – suit up and play hardball, in a real baseball stadium, Nationals Park. The game for charity, sponsored by Roll Call, a news outlet that covers Capitol Hill, will be June 11.
Texans are in charge of the Republican team, with U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, the manager and U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, the coach of what has been a pretty dry run for the GOP team.
The Barton-led team (he was the coach before moving up to manager a few years ago) has lost six years in a row to the Democrats, with last year’s 15-6 loss, and several before that, attributed to the Democrats’ ace pitcher Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La.
Williams has a baseball background — he was drafted by the Atlanta Braves and was in their farm team system (he still has and will wear the uniform) and was a long-time Texas Christian University baseball coach. He has the team, including Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, working hard at 6:30 a.m. practices.
That Snowden effect
U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, was one of only 47 GOP members who voted against the USA Freedom Act, the updated version of the post-9-11 Patriot Act that passed the U.S. House last week 338-88.
And in a meeting of the Rules Committee he gave the surprising reason — the revelations of massive data collections made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Instead of the limited gathering of phone calls that Burgess thought he had voted for in 2011, he learned that wholesale collection of communications were revealed to only a few lawmakers and not “to rank and file members such as myself.”
The bill is designed to limit NSA actions but many civil libertarians said it does not go far enough. After Snowden’s data was released, said Burgess, “There was a visceral reaction to that, certainly in the district that I represent, I suspect all across the country.”
Maria Recio, 202-383-6103
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610