Still bruised from narrowly surviving a vicious primary, State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) is once again trying to push what has become his signature issue — regulating the political speech of Texans. And he’s hoping to accomplish it by working around both the Governor and the Constitution by proposing it as a constitutional amendment.
Gov. Greg Abbott voiced opposition to such efforts last year: “As a justice on the Texas Supreme Court, I wrote that laws like that are unconstitutional and I based that decision on United States Supreme Court Decisions. It’s important for legislators to not try and pass laws that have already been ruled unconstitutional.”
Which is precisely why Cook wants to amend the Constitution in order to empower speech regulators. Cook has tried —unsuccessfully— to pass such laws in the past. As recently as last session, when a comprehensive ethics bill (SB 19) was passed out of the Senate, it was routed to Cook’s committee — where he bastardized it into an unconstitutional nightmare that would have violated every prong of the First Amendment.
Now, Cook is tacitly admitting that his actions were unconstitutional — by trying to amend the constitution to allow them.
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reported on why his reasoning for compelling non-profits to disclose donors is flawed. The Tyler Paper writes:
“The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that there are good reasons to not disclose the source of donations. The case was called NAACP v. Alabama, and it was decided in 1958. The state of Alabama wanted to force the NAACP to reveal its donor and membership lists. The Court held that if Alabama did so, the NAACP’s members and donors could be at risk….”
“In other words, forcing a then-unpopular organization such as NAACP to expose its members and supporters would interfere with those members’ rights of privacy and free association,” the paper writes. And they would be correct.
Make no mistake: that is precisely why Cook wants the donors of non-profits disclosed.
We’ve reported before on how Cook has abused his position(s) to bully people in his community and in business who did so much as put up a yard sign for his opponent.
The last thing a man like that needs is a list of names.