Riddle chides Martinez-Fischer in press release
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During the debate, Riddle invited Martinez-Fischer to work with her on her bill. But her press release takes an entirely different tone. Martinez-Fischer was totally polite in his debate dialogue with Riddle, saying he respected her as he respects all of his colleagues. Apparently there was some preliminary wordplay before the debate that Riddle did not appreciate. Here is Riddle’s press release: MARTINEZ FISCHER ADMITS HE’S NEVER READ RIDDLE’S BILL AUSTIN – Representative Debbie Riddle has issued the following opinion/ editorial regarding her debate with Representative Trey Martinez Fischer yesterday on Dallas’ radio KRLD AM: ______________ Almost two weeks ago, Representative Trey Martinez Fischer was mad as a wet hen when CNN cancelled our on-air debate, but he insisted that I was the one who was chicken. He boasted to news outlets that my legislation was “weak,” that my “inability to debate this issue speaks for itself,” and that he could get more votes for “legislation that would move Debbie Riddle to Arizona.” But when we were finally able to get on the air together yesterday afternoon to have our much anticipated debate, a very interesting fact came to light not five minutes into the interview. Representative Martinez Fischer had never even read my bill. In fact, he did not even know my bill existed. After asking me to start the show by explaining a little bit about HB 49, a bill I first filed back in 2008, the host asked Representative Martinez Fischer his take on the bill. “I think the beauty in what Debbie is speaking about is that nobody has seen her legislation,” Martinez Fischer said. “So I can’t, you know, give you a point-by-point criticism.” Oops. We’ll skip over the discussion about whether or not you might want to be prepared to give a point-by-point criticism when you’re having a legislative debate, much less a debate you have fluffed for two weeks by trashing the legislation (and legislator) at issue, and move on to the reality that lots and lots of people have seen my bill. In fact, if you type in the words “HB 49 Debbie Riddle” to a Google search engine you’ll get almost 37,000 results. Type in Trey Martinez Fischer’s name and you’ll get about 13,000 results. In other words, my bill has almost three times the exposure as the bill’s chief opponent in Texas. And that opponent hasn’t ever read the bill or seen the bill. I may have mentioned that already. This revelation from Representative Martinez Fischer only confirms in a big, big way what many have suspected ever since outrage over an Arizona law reached levels of complete hysteria: people are not doing their homework. They are bandying about accusations of racism, waxing poetic about Fourth Amendment rights, and invoking images of Nazi Germany, all without having done one iota of research or even laying so much as an eyeball on the legislation they so vehemently oppose. Even after admitting he had never seen the bill, Representative Martinez Fischer couldn’t resist glossing it “Debbie’s ‘show me your papers’ legislation.” If he had read the bill or been able to catch one of over a dozen interviews I’ve done in the last two weeks, he’d know my bill doesn’t require anyone to show any identification. He’d know a whole lot of things if had read the bill. But he didn’t. Read the bill, that is. The bill he said I was too chicken to debate. That he didn’t even read. Okay, I think you get the point. Honestly, that wasn’t the biggest surprise in yesterday’s interview. An even bigger surprise was the revelation that, hold on to your hats, Trey and I agree on several issues that are critical to the issue of border security. He said he believes that reasonable suspicion is an appropriate standard for law enforcement. He said he believes securing our borders should be a priority. He even said that he would support a resolution that urged Congress to “get off their butts” and secure our borders. But in the end, it was Representative Martinez Fischer who chickened out when it came time to actually take action to protect the citizens we serve. “Border security, yes, is a big problem, and yes, we need to secure our border,” he said in yesterday’s interview. “But we’d better put the responsibility where it lies, and that’s squarely on the shoulders of Congress.” Representative Martinez Fischer and I, along with all of our colleagues, have taken a solemn oath where we swore “to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State.” I read that to mean that once it’s become abundantly clear that Congress isn’t going to do their jobs, the responsibility falls to us. I think that means that you don’t throw your hands in the air and tell the people of Texas “Hey! Not my problem! Call someone else.” But I guess Representative Martinez Fischer doesn’t see it that way. Or maybe he just hasn’t read his oath of office, either. * * * * This is ugly. Riddle takes Martinez-Fischer to task for not knowing about her bill (HB 49, 81st session), which had its first reading in the House, was referred to Criminal Jurisprudence, and died without a hearing. Thousands of bills suffer a similar fate each session. No member should expect that a colleague is familiar with her legislative program. It’s clear from the debate that Martinez-Fischer was under the impression that Riddle was working on a new bill for the 2011 session. She said during the debate that she was making some changes. But it is ridiculous for her to issue a press release condemning him for not reading a bill that ceased to exist when the Legislature adjourned. She writes about it as if the bill has some kind of afterlife. It’s really hubris to think that your legislation is so important that surely everyone has read it. And then to say, I got more hits on the Internet that you did. As I said, this is ugly.