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Rep. Raney: Gov. defunding state lege is ‘like when everybody is punished for what one kid does’

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 10:19 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Texas Rep. John Raney (R-District 14) says his legislative staff deserves to be paid.

Raney is making the point because Gov. Greg Abbott has defunded legislative staff’s salaries beginning Sept. 1. In fact, the whole legislature budget has been vetoed by the governor, which includes funding for House and Senate lawmakers, their staffers, and those working in nonpartisan legislative agencies.

“My staff has done a wonderful job during the legislative session,” said Raney. “They keep me running. I think they deserve to be paid.”

Abbott defunded the legislature to make good on a threat he leveled to Democrats as they walked out of the session to keep a restrictive election integrity bill from passing.

“I don’t know that I would have done it that way,” said Raney. “I hate to criticize, but it’s kind of like when you’re a kid, and everybody in the schoolroom is punished for what one other kid does. It doesn’t really make me happy to be that person sitting there.”

The bill in question would have put restrictions on mail-in voting, prohibited after-hours and drive-thru voting options, and barred some early voting opportunities.

Now, Abbott has called a special session to begin July 8, reportedly to address the same legislation. However, he has not yet released a specific agenda.

On Brazos Valley This Morning Monday, Raney indicated that he does not see eye-to-eye with the governor on all voting access issues.

“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t have people picking up folks and taking them to the polling places; that doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Raney. “We need to get everyone to go to the polls that can. If the Democrats outmaneuver us on that, I guess that’s our fault.”

Raney pointed to the pandemic-related expansion of early voting in 2020.

“The governor expanded some options, and if we need to do that, I don’t have any problem with it,” Raney said. “We got a lot of people out to vote, and it didn’t hurt Republicans at all--at least not in the local races, and we maintained control of the house.”

Raney says his concern lies with mail-in voting security.

“I do think that we’re going to talk about making sure that those mail-in ballots are mailed in by the people who voted them,” Raney said. “We just don’t know at this point how it can be done effectively to make sure the people that voted are the ones that sent the ballot in.”

For the full conversation with Rep. John Raney, see the video player above.

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