On Monday, the Texas House overwhelmingly rejected House Bill 206 by State Rep. Dan Flynn (R–Van) by a vote of 14 for and 112 against. Flynn’s bill would have redefined the term “veteran” to include members of the Texas State Guard.
While the Texas State Guard is considered a part of Texas’ military its members are engaged in community service such as hurricane response rather than armed conflicts. In fact, firearms training isn’t even part of the Texas State Guard’s training regimen.
Making this point and others, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington), a military veteran who received the bronze star for his service in combat in both Iraq and Latin America, fiercely opposed Flynn on his legislation and debated against him on the House floor. In a show of bipartisanship, Tinderholt was joined in his opposition by State Rep. Cesar Blanco (D–El Paso) who served in the U.S. Navy.
Flynn has been a member of the Texas State Guard for roughly a dozen years and would have become eligible for additional benefits such as Hazlewood benefits shortly after the bill passed. A number of other lawmakers are members of the Texas State Guard as well.
Though he once had a conservative voting record, Flynn sold out to House Speaker Joe Straus and joined his ruling coalition of Republicans and Democrats. Abandoning his principles, Flynn became Straus’ leading attack dog against University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall—seeking to impeach him for exposing the university admissions scandal that resulted in the firing of UT President Bill Powers.
After being defeated by such a wide margin, Flynn is unlikely to bring the measure back up for a vote this session. Should it defy the odds and pass, State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R–Granbury), a conservative U.S. Army veteran who was injured in the September 11th attack on the Pentagon, has vowed to kill it in the Texas Senate.