A new video captures a Texas Democrat encouraging protest disruptions from the floor of the State House of Representatives last week. The video was taken moments before the now-famous confrontation between Republican Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) and Hispanic Democrat legislators.
The cell phone video taken from the floor of the Texas House by State Representative Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) shows Democrat State Representative Ramon Ramero (D-Fort Worth) chanting “Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. SB4 has got to go!” House rules and order prohibit such behavior by representatives.
“This is such an embarrassment for the legislature,” Rep. Keough told Breitbart Texas in an exclusive interview. “The people in the gallery were holding up signs saying they are in the country illegally, and Democrat state reps are cheering them on.”
“We all took the same oath to uphold and defend the Constitutions of Texas and the United States at the beginning of the session,” the Republican representative continued. “And here they were, encouraging lawless behavior.”
Keough told Breitbart Texas that House rules expressly prohibit this type of conduct. “Unfortunately, the House Sergeant-at-Arms and other security personnel were upstairs in the gallery dealing with the disruptive crowd,” he explained. “When the Speaker calls for order, you are supposed to settle down, but they just continued encouraging the crowd. I couldn’t believe it.”
The chants from protesters came after the House Speaker had ordered Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers to clear the House Gallery of protesters who were attempting to disrupt the final day of the legislative session. Romero and other Democrat state representatives were seen by their Republican colleagues as egging on the protesters while law enforcement officers tried to maintain peace and order.
State Representative Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) told Breitbart Texas that at this point when the video by Keough was filmed, several DPS troopers had been assaulted and pushed down the steps in the gallery by the crowd.
“These troopers were trying to restore order, and Democrats were egging them on from the floor,” Stickland said. “I have never seen anything like this in the House.”
Rinaldi would later accuse Romero of physically assaulting him after he told Democrat reps he had called ICE on the protesters claiming to be illegal aliens.
“When I told the Democrats I called ICE, Representative Ramon Romero physically assaulted me, and other Democrats were held back by colleagues,” Rinaldi posted on Facebook.
This session has seen the passage of historic, but emotional legislation relating to prohibiting sanctuary cities in Texas. Senate Bill 4, authored by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), is now the law of the state. The law which prohibits sheriff’s and police chiefs from ignoring immigration detainers and having policies forbidding officers from asking about immigration status becomes effective on September 1, 2017. The bill provides civil fines and even criminal penalties to law enforcement officials choosing to ignore immigration authorities.
This new law was the focus of protesters on the final day of the session. The emotional debate over the bill left emotional scars on relationships between representatives with opposing viewpoints.
In a few weeks, the legislature will reconvene in a special session called by Governor Greg Abbott on July 18.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.