Sunday, December 24, 2006

Speaker's race in Texas; Republican Challenger Supports Moratorium

Every newspaper in Texas is reporting, including the Houston Chronicle, that

"State Rep. Brian McCall, R-Plano, is expected to formally announce his candidacy against Craddick as early as the middle of this week, several lawmakers said Saturday.

McCall has a reputation of getting along with different factions. If elected, he is expected to bring a more even-handed approach to the role, allowing members to vote the interests of their districts, rather than succumb to the dictates of the speaker."

McCall is the only Republican in the Texas Legislature who has ever voted in favor of a moratorium. He voted "yes" in 2001 on HB 1328, filed by Rep Dutton, which would have established a 2-year moratorium on executions. The bill received 52 votes on the floor of the House.

One day during the 2001 session, Kerry Cook and TMN's Scott Cobb ran into Rep Brian McCall in the halls of the Texas Legislature near the vending machines and Kerry convinced Rep McCall to endorse a moratorium. Cook spent twenty years on death row before being released and exonerated. McCall remains the only Republican in the Texas Legislature who has endorsed a moratorium on executions. In 2003, we recontacted Rep McCall to ask if he had changed his mind on the need for a moratorium and he told us that he is "still with you".

Whoever wins the speakership, we expect that support for a moratorium will continue to grow among Texas legislators because of the reports that have surfaced in the last two years that at least three people executed by Texas may have been innocent: Ruben Cantu, Cameron Todd Willingham and Carlos De Luna.

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