The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Friday, July 08, 2005

Martinez-Fischer in Spain for HB 3 Vote

According to today's Express-News, State Rep Trey Martinez-Fischer was in fact in Madrid, Spain during the HB 3 brouhaha. According to the Express-News-

Martinez Fischer said by telephone Thursday that the announcement of illness was a mistake made by a colleague. He said he was in Madrid on a long-planned wedding anniversary trip with his wife. The non-refundable airplane tickets were purchased in March. Martinez Fischer said he tried to cancel, but that it would have cost him $3,500 per ticket to do so.

Perry announced the special session shortly before calling lawmakers back June 21, so Martinez Fischer couldn't know of its timing earlier.

Martinez Fischer noted he had made arrangements to ensure his absence wouldn't affect the vote on Thursday's final House passage through a tradition known as "pairing."

In that tradition, Martinez Fischer, who would have voted against the bill if he were present, found a Republican, Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, who was for the bill. Geren agreed not to vote Thursday. That's because if Martinez Fischer were there, their opposing votes would have canceled each other out.

Martinez Fischer said Thursday's vote was the key one, because if House leaders and Perry had come up short Wednesday, they would have employed "high-pressure negotiating tactics with members" to get the votes they needed anyway.

Rep. Robert Puente, D-San Antonio, said before Thursday's vote, "We just all need to know that it's imperative to be here. I'm sure if Trey is within flying or driving distance he'll be here."

So he wasn't there to vote, but he did pair his vote up. Make of this what you will. If he was there, Geren's vote would've canceled his out, making it go from 70-69 to 71-70. At the same time, there is something to be said about actually pushing the "no" button. However, the man had $3,500 in non-refundable stuff to worry about. Then again, maybe he should've planned a vacation a few months (not weeks) after session ended.

That last paragraph is literally what I've been thinking about on this whole thing. I'm of the school of thought that you judge an elected official on his entire body of work, not on just one or two votes. So while this probably isn't the best outcome Martinez-Fischer could've hoped for, it doesn't take away this blogger's admiration for the man.