The amendment would reassign $10,164,493 from the arts to border security for each year in the coming biennium. It includes specific directions to “fund the construction to department and federal specifications for similar infrastructure of a wall to be named the ‘President Donald J. Trump Wall.’”
Slaton alerted The Texan on Tuesday that multiple counties including Kinney County are preparing to declare states of emergency over the “amount of human smuggling” occurring along the southern border.
“I filed a bill to create the fund, and then presented a rider to put money into the fund, and both of those have been basically killed,” Slaton said. “They’re not getting any traction, so I decided to come up with another one because I think it’s important to vote on this.”
When asked about his choice of the Texas Commission on the Arts as a funding source, he contended that border security ought to be prioritized over the arts.
“Our border security is so important. Spending money on that would be more important than the arts[…]” Slaton said, though he added the “President Donald J. Trump Wall” may bring tourism to Texas, similar to the tourism of the Great Wall of China.
While Slaton said he is aware of lawmakers who are “very excited and supportive and ready to vote for it,” he believes the success of the amendment will depend on whether the House leadership views it favorably.
Slaton filed a bill in March, House Bill (HB) 2862, that would direct state agencies to finish former Trump’s border wall project on the state’s coin. Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) referred HB 2862 to the Texas House State Affairs committee.
According to Slaton’s office, Chairman Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) told Slaton earlier this month the bill would not be heard in committee, which would essentially kill the possibility of the legislation’s movement or passage.
Facing increasing illegal immigration and public disapproval of the Biden administration’s handling of immigration policy, the federal government is reportedly exploring the possibility of recommencing the border wall project. However, the White House has denied those reports, repeating its opposition to the construction of the barrier.
Slaton’s proposed amendment is among hundreds of amendments that state representatives have filed ahead of the Texas House’s consideration of Senate Bill (SB) 1, the proposed state budget for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023.
The Texas Senate passed SB 1 unanimously earlier this month and the Texas House is scheduled to debate and consider amendments to the bill this Thursday.
A copy of Slaton’s proposed amendment can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."