When considering the Texas Legislature, perhaps it's just best to embrace the darkness. Because of the overwhelming majorities enjoyed by Republicans who would make Barry Goldwater blush, if you happen to be one of the large number of Texans who exist somewhere to the left of hard right on the political spectrum, you're effectively unrepresented. Think about it too hard, and it gets disheartening fast.
If you can let go, though, and ignore the reality that you either have to leave the state or live in the reality these people are creating, this crop of 84th Session legislators is actually pretty great. There's Molly White, the state representative from Belton who gave her office orders to have visiting Muslims swear an allegiance oath to the United States. Debbie Riddle, who represents northwest Harris County, wants to tell everyone which restroom they should use. Then there's the cavalcade of folks who've made legalizing Yosemite Sam cosplay their top priority. Finally, there's Jonathan Stickland, the Bedford-based member of the Texas House whom D Magazine's Zac Crain called the "husky human embodiment of both the red 100 emoji and the #TCOT hashtag." As if that were a bad thing.
We've expressed our love of Stickland before. He's almost completely ineffective, incredibly smug and absolutely delightful.
So far this session, Stickland's posted a sign near his office door proclaiming himself a "former fetus" as women's rights organizations lobbied the capitol; trolled his colleagues by manipulating the House's consent agenda process to slow down bills; and aggravated colleague Charlie Geren so much that the Fort Worth representative jokingly attempted to lure the portly Stickland away from a microphone in the chamber back with a cookie on a string.
Just over a week ago, Stickland put a fitting capper on his session by getting himself tossed out of a House Transportation Committee meeting. Normally, video of committee meetings is posted on the House's website almost as soon as the meeting is over. The video of Stickland's ouster took more than a week to go up and finally appeared late Thursday night.
Stickland was at the meeting to introduce his bill that would ban red light cameras in the state. He got thrown out by the committee's chairman, Joe Pickett, after Pickett called several of the witnesses listed as being at the hearing to testify on the bill. Several of the people Pickett called weren't even in Austin, and Pickett accused Stickland of stacking the roster of supporters for the red-light camera ban.
"You may go," Pickett told Stickland. "You. May. Leave. There are people that may have been perjured here tonight and you have broken the rules."
"Are you accusing me of doing that?" Stickland asked.
"Mr. Stickland you may leave, or be removed," Pickett said. "Which one do you prefer?"
"This is the most disrespectful thing that I have seen," Stickland said.
Pickett eventually had Stickland removed from the committee room by a House segeant.
In a statement issued shortly after the incident, Stickland said he and his staff believed that it was unnecessary for those signed up to testify on behalf of a bill to actually be present.
Never quit being you, Stick.