87th LegislatureGunsState HouseBexar County Democrats Censure Rep. Leo Pacheco Over Constitutional Carry Vote

The Bexar County Democratic Party censured one of their own over his vote on constitutional carry, but the San Antonio Democrat said he intended to vote against the bill’s final passage.
May 14, 2021
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The county executive committee of the Bexar County Democratic Party agreed to censure Rep. Leo Pacheco (D-San Antonio) this week over his vote in support of House Bill (HB) 1927, a “constitutional carry” measure to allow the carrying of a handgun in public without a permit.

In the resolution, the county party cited the pro-gun control aspects of the Texas Democratic Party platform, such as its “calls for prohibiting ‘open carry’ of all firearms and repealing ‘campus carry’ policies.’”

“[W]e call upon all Democrats representing Bexar County in the Texas Legislature to vote always to protect and defend the lives of all Texans, and to defend the principles of the Texas Democratic Party,” said the party.

Beyond a public declaration of dissatisfaction from the local party, a censure does not carry any heavy consequences.

Pacheco was one of seven Democrats who voted for HB 1927 after it was debated on the House floor.

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Per the procedures of the legislature, the bill has had two votes before the entire lower chamber — one to move the bill to engrossment, and a second on final passage the next day.

Notably, while Pacheco voted in favor of the bill on both days, he provided a statement to the House clerk on the latter vote saying that he “intended to vote no.”

Asked about his vote, Pacheco’s office said that he “is waiting until after the end of session to issue any response because his priority is focusing on passing substantive legislation.”

The other Democrats who voted in favor of the constitutional carry bill include Reps. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Harold Dutton (D-Houston), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), Tracy King (D-Batesville), Eddie Morales (D-Eagle Pass), and Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo).

Rep. Ramon Romero (D-Fort Worth) voted to pass HB 1927 to engrossment, but said he voted incorrectly because of his “voting machine malfunctioning” and he opposed the final passage of the bill the following day.

HB 1927 was approved by the Texas Senate with some notable amendments, but the House refused to concur with the amendments and sent the bill to a conference committee to resolve the differences.

The conferees representing the committee include Canales and Guillen, as well as Reps. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), James White (R-Hillister), and Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock).

Following the request for a conference committee, the Senate quickly agreed and appointed Sens. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), and Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe).

After the conference committee decides which — if any — of the Senate amendments to keep on the bill, it will require a majority vote of approval in both chambers.

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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.