From the Office of State Senator John Carona

For Immediate Release
March 24, 2004
CONTACT: Paul Reyes, 512-463-0116 or 1-800-662-0334

SENATOR CARONA TO ADDRESS THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS ON RECORD VOTES

State Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) has a date with the Dallas League of Women Voters to address the issue and urgency of recording votes made by Texas Legislators."The public has a right to know how the legislators they put in office vote," said Senator Carona, adding that of the ten most populous states, Texas is the only state that does not require recorded votes on at least final passage of legislation.

"I am honored to have been invited to speak at tomorrow night's League of Women Voter's event," said Senator Carona, adding the Dallas League is a great asset to the community, promoting the need to vote as well providing the public with information on issues, and helping voters to get more acquainted with elected officials.

There are currently three different methods of casting votes in the Texas Legislature. Voice votes are a popular method. However, there is no way to find how a legislator voted with a voice vote. Division votes are another way of casting approval or disapproval. The Speaker or Lieutenant Governor gavels a measure being debated as either approved or disapproved before the vote is actually recorded. Last, there is the record vote. House members record their votes electronically from their desks. In the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate calls the roll and records the vote indicated by each member electronically. However, in most cases, lawmakers have to request a record vote, which is a deterrence for some. The votes in Texas that are recorded are available as part of the House and Senate Journals, which are available in many libraries and on the Internet.

The legislatures of Arizona and California routinely record votes and post them on state web-sites. California's Assembly takes 10,000 roll call votes a year which are recorded and posted on the Internet the next day, compared to the Texas House which took 951 record votes last regular session. Congressional votes are also easily and readily accessible to the public.

"I offered amendments twice to require record votes in previous sessions," Senator Carona said, adding although they were not adopted, I will try again. Not only should votes be recorded, they should also be easily accessible to voters."

Senator Carona will be one of the speakers at the Dallas League of Women Voters of Dallas next general meeting, Thursday, March 25 at 7:00pm. It will be held at the Hayes Auditorium at Dallas Scottish Rite Hospital. The title of the meeting is "Let the Sun Shine: Record All Votes in the Texas Legislature."

Top