One of the hardest things to try and do as a citizen in Texas is getting a Bill through the State Legislature. State Rep Bill Zedler described it to me as a "Bill Killing Machine". One of the first hurdles is getting your concerns past your Legislators own ideas of what's important to their constituents. Even worse is getting past whatever agenda they might have as a collective group.
During the 84th Session we pushed through SB 754 sponsored by State Senator Watson (D) and Sate Rep Bill Zedler (R). Some Bills like SB 754 should be no brainers. Long story short every time we register our motorcycles a portion ($3) goes to a motorcycle safety fund. From what we understand the DPS made some changes and failed to ask or use the fund for what it was intended. So the fund grew to $17 million over a period of years.
It didn't take long for them to release some money out of those funds. US Defenders Paul Landers did a great job appearing before the Senate Transportation Committee. Money was released (not all) prior to the Bill going to the Governor and signed into law. I think that move was made because some folks had egg on their face or felt they were going to. Then again it may have been just doing the right thing. I'm really not sure there are many politicians that will not do the right thing without being forced to. We now must stand watch over those funds.
Fast forward to the 85th Legislature.
We have set our goals high. Motorcycle Profiling, Lane Splitting, Dead Red Lights. As political activist we must assess where we are at going into battle, yes this is a battle of epic proportions. Since I retired in 2004 I've been part of different and diverse (I hate that word) political organizations and in everyone of them we started out behind the 8 ball. Catch up is difficult to impossible. Understand our legislators have been meeting for a month before the Legislature convenes.
Since Twinn Peaks we've been talking about the importance of the 85th Legislature. We've asked you to get involved by calling, emailing, writing, visiting your representatives. We've even invited politicians in to speak to you. My Club who is very political minded calls this planting seeds, it's as simple as making contact, shaking hands and getting your points heard. It's a slow meticulous process that we've been doing for the better part of two years in the DFW area.
In the age of Political Pacs we face a difficult challenge when your opponents have large sums of money and can buy support.
We've presented well written wonderful Bill proposals against Motorcycle Profiling in Texas. Thank you Steve "Dozer" Cochran, David "Double D" Devereaux and other's who've worked so hard on this issue. Among politicians in the State Capital there is reluctance to sign on with data that they say does not show whether or not this is an epidemic in Texas. We presented those material months ago, recently the video above was posted by MPP. We hope there is more data than we know about or was able to present at that time.
TX Senator Don Huffines told us they had more phone calls in the 84th Legislature over Lane Splitting than any other motorcycle related Bills. This is surely a hot topic among Bikers and LE. The Bill has been revamped, any lane splitting would be at very low speeds, we all know the effects when caught in traffic in very hot weather not only on the machine but Biker as well. A pilot program would be excellent.
Bill Zedler is reintroducing the Dead Red Light Bill. Every one of us has experienced it, every politician we talk to gets it, understands it. It's nothing but common sense. We're not asking to run a red light, we're asking to proceed as if a light is blinking if it's not recognizing a motorcycle or small vehicle is there.
On January 23rd Texas Motorcycle Legislative Day you have a chance to help plant the seeds of success with personal contact and numbers for all to see. Show we are involved and not what we have been described as by LE and the media.