Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fred Hill Is My Hero

Fred Hill
Fred Hill
Former state representative Fred Hill (R-Richardson) is my hero for one glorious act of rebellion in May, 2007. During the closing hours of the legislative session, Hill attempted to offer a motion to remove Tom Craddick (R-Midland) as Speaker. The Speaker refused to recognize Hill to allow him to make his motion. Another representative also attempted to make the motion to vacate the chair. He, too, was not recognized. A third representative attempted to have a vote of the House to overrule these parliamentary decisions. He, too, was not recognized. Speaker Craddick argued that, under House rules, legislators cannot make a motion to remove him from office unless he lets them do it. And if he doesn't, there is no appeal. That position prompted the House parliamentarian to quit but a replacement upheld Craddick's position. Hill lost his battle that chaotic night in 2007, but he won a warm spot in my heart for his stand against autocratic rule.

After the jump, what Fred Hill has been up to lately.

Fred Hill retired from the legislature after the 2007 session and became a paid lobbyist for several north Texas cities and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Hill explained his lobbying goals to "Texas Watchdog":

"[It] boils down to local control. I'm not down in Austin asking anybody to give any money to anybody. I'm just simply there to try to protect local governments and keep them from having to come up with the money to mandates simply because some legislator thought it was a great idea. We constantly get these great ideas without the money to fund them."

Recent issues Hill has been involved with include property tax caps and use of local sales tax revenues to fund public transit. Hill lobbies for local control over those issues and resists attempts from Austin to dictate to local government what they can and cannot do. Some who value tax cuts/freezes/caps more highly than local autonomy attempt to paint Hill as being an enemy of taxpayers. To me, he's living up to the principles he stood for in his battle against autocratic rule in Austin in 2007.

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