St. Edward’s students lobby for breakfast taco bill at Texas Legislature

Down the road at the Texas State Capitol, senators, representatives and committee members are listening to various pieces of legislation at the 85th Texas Legislative Session. And one bill has the support of St. Edward’s University students.

HCR 92 aims to designate the breakfast taco as the official state breakfast item of Texas. Students are in the Legislative Process and Lobbying course taught by Political Science Asst. Professor David Thomason.

“A lot of us in the class are either [political science] majors, or environmental policy majors, so it’s important for everyone to know the legislation process – and that so much of the legislative process is lobbying and interest groups,” junior Maddie Cohen said.

Students have spent the semester researching the legislative process for authoring bills and lobbying, since the bill was filed March 2. The bill was referred to the Culture, Recreation & Tourism House Committee on March 31. The bill was authored by State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). A hearing for the bill was postponed, and Thomason knows the “bill is in trouble, but there is potential.”

“After May 11th, if a house bill has not been heard on the floor, it’s dead. What is one other alternative that we can do?,” Thomason asked his students in class on Monday.

The class discussed options to give the bill the best chance of passing: germanness. This means to “piggyback” on another bill of similar language. Thomason suggested HCR 32, which designates the Bowie knife as the official state knife of Texas.

“Usually authors don’t want somebody coming in at the last second and catching a ride on their bill, but it happens,” Thomason said.

Last minute collaborations or ammendements are not ideal, but are necessary due to the scheduled hearing for the bill being postponed.

To be more efficient in their campaign, the class was divided into four lobbying groups, which each have their own tasks and responsibilities throughout the semester.

The Government Relations team serves as capitol liaisons, and worked on getting different politicians on board by visiting with representatives and leaving letters. The team has met with the 12 offices in the committee the bill is sitting in.

The Coalitions team builds relationships with local taco businesses in the community surrounding St. Edward’s, such as Tyson’s Tacos, so they can show support for the bill.

A challenge that these two teams have faced is that each government office and local business wants to see supports from the other side before committing their support.

“The Government Relations group ran into some problems because our sponsor is a white Republican, and they were saying that we need a Democrat and a Mexican,” senior Jonathan Sills said. “So even though it seems like it should be non-partisan, partisanship is somehow finding its way into it.”

The Media Relations team has designed a logo and a slogan and promoted the resolution on various social media platforms, including interviews with Topper Radio and Hilltop Views. The team also informs the community on how to help the Taco Bill pass: one way is to email your representative to let them know you support HCR 92.

The Grassroots team is focusing on creating press releases and information pamphlets to disperse at the Capitol, local businesses and the St. Edward’s community.

“We picked something that is not controversial, that is not of a political nature,” Cohen said. “It’s of a fun-loving nature, and I think that’s one of our approaches in going forward with it. We want to keep it light and uplifting because there is so much serious legislation going on at the Capitol right now.”