A video making the rounds on social media highlights State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R–Tomball) and his spectacularly failed attempt to pass a bill curtailing the use of fireworks in unincorporated areas.
Roberts, who served one term in the Texas House, is currently running in the Republican primary runoff against Dan Crenshaw for the 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by retiring Congressman Ted Poe (R–TX).
The ad, released by the pro-Crenshaw Pirate PAC, uses footage from the last legislative session in which Roberts presents House Bill 1183, legislation he calls “the most important bill that I have filed this session.” Rather than using the phrase to describe a bill to cut spending or protect life, the bill in question gave the commissioners court in a county the ability to prohibit the use of fireworks in unincorporated areas.
Roberts, who represents the suburban communities of Cypress and Tomball, failed to gauge how fierce opposition would be from the rural community that his bill would affect. After several lawmakers began prodding Roberts on this point, he reluctantly accepted an amendment by State Rep. Drew Springer (R–Muenster) to limit the bill to Harris County.
That didn’t make State Reps. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) and Dan Huberty (R–Humble) happy.
The two lawmakers, though often on opposite sides during the session, represent the largest swaths of unincorporated Harris County, much of which is also included in the congressional district Roberts is running for.
Roberts’ big government bill threatened to both close local fireworks businesses in their districts and encroach on the freedom and quality of life that had led many of their constituents to move outside the city to begin with. To compromise, Cain suggested that Roberts further limit the bill to only apply to his district, but Roberts refused.
After delaying the bill to later in the afternoon, a vote was finally taken and Roberts’ fireworks ban failed dramatically with a vote of 23-111.
In the legislature, a bill that receives over 100 votes against is referred to as part of the “century club.” With his “most important bill” to ban fireworks in other members’ districts, Roberts got initiated into the club quickly.
None of the joint authors or coauthors of the bill joined Roberts on his titanic failure; all of them abandoned ship and ultimately voted against the bill.
As for the 23 members voting for the bill? Most of them were liberal Democrats.
Early voting in the primary runoff election begins May 14, with Election Day on May 22.