Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) is alienating himself from the rest of the Legislature these days. He resigned from the House Freedom Caucus he helped found last week, and continues to be the lone no vote on several dozen occasions this session.
Most notably, Stickland was the lone no vote on House Bill 3, the school finance plan supported by every other State Rep., the House Speaker, and the Governor. He later justified his vote by saying his school districts will receive less funding than other districts under the plan and that Robin Hood was not “permanently addressed.” Speaker Dennis Bonnen explained Stickland’s no vote this way: “… he was told to vote against it by the people who make their living attacking us [Republicans].”
He also voted against Senate Bill 12, legislation seeking to shore up teacher pensions and give retired teachers a 13th check. Until the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) is solvent, retired teachers will not see an increase in their pensions, even a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). Stickland explained his vote saying the bill was only a “band-aid” and not a “permanent fix.”
Other lone no votes seem inexplicable:
- HB 1589: He voted against a bill, which notifies new mothers of their eligibility to family planning services covered by the State after they lose Medicaid maternity coverage.
- HB 1508 – He voted against designating March as bleeding disorders awareness month
- HCR 148 – He voted against designating June as Veteran Suicide and PTSD Awareness Month.
- HB 4611 – He voted against asking the voters to approve drawing down more funds for public education from the Permanent School Fund. The bill was a direct response to a Houston Chronicle Investigation which showed lack of return in the education endowment and soaring fees collected by politically connected investment managers.
- HB 1785 – He voted against an ethics reform bill requiring lobbyists to disclose they’re also foreign agents.
- HB 444 – He voted against increasing the penalties for misuse of official information by public servants such as for insider trading.
- SJR 24 – He voted against having Texans vote on whether to direct more of the sporting goods sales tax to the Texas Park & Wildlife Department.
- HB 1525 – He voted against collecting online sales taxes from out-of-state vendors who sell to Texas customers following the Wayfair Supreme Court decision holding such taxes constitutional. The Senate is planning on using this as a source of revenue for public education to replace funds from property tax relief.
- HB 1307 – He voted against requiring the Texas Division of Emergency Management to contract with a vendor to develop and maintain an electronic disaster case management system.
- HB 2340 – He voted against a bill to better prepare Texas in emergency and disaster management, response, and recovery. More specifically, the bill would create an unmanned aircraft study group to examine its use in disaster response and recovery; it would create an information sharing work group among state agencies involved in disaster management; and it would reduce the red tape of response and recovery efforts between the state and federal government.
- SB 726 – He voted against allowing state banks to make more community development investments.
- HB 3117 – He voted against developing a plan on improving long-term care for people with intellectual disabilities by reviewing bed capacity of intermediate care facilities and reallocate licensed beds that were out of use. These facilities have waiting lists because of the scarcity of licensed beds.
- HB 1554 – He voted against allowing insurers to present customers with automobile and residential property insurance policies or endorsements in a non-English languages.
- HB 1579 – He voted against defining members of Texas’ military forces as first responders so they can be included in the Department of State Health Services’ immunization registry, ensuring they receive the necessary immunizations to prevent the spread of communicable diseases they may be exposed to during emergency situations.
- HB 1824 – He voted against the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department getting royalties from the excavation of sand, gravel, marl, shell, and mud-shell from Texas public waters to support habitat enhancement, preservation, and restoration of fish habitats in rivers and streams.
- HB 114 – He voted against requiring public school counselors from informing high school students about the availability of college credit awarded to military service members.
- HB 488 – He voted against protecting public freshwater areas.
- HB 601 – He voted against clarifying procedures for identifying and handling arrestees who might be persons with a mental illness or an intellectual disability.
- HB 807 – He voted against establishing an interregional water planning council to improve state water planning.
- HB 1300 – He voted against establishing a cultivated oyster mariculture program.
Will Stickland continue to vote against Texans’ best interests?