According to Sharon Edmonds at the Texas District and County Attorneys Association:
Earlier this week, SB 1717 by Duncan/Lewis, an omnibus judicial reform bill, became what we call a "Christmas tree," so named because of all the amendments that other members tried to "hang" on it. Many of those amendments were formerly dead bills, including HB 1507 by Christian, a prosecutor-supported bill that would authorize non-lawyer JPs to issue evidentiary search warrants in smaller counties. Once offered, the amendment immediately started taking fire from several House members—urban and rural, Democrat and Republican—who expressed concerns about expansive searches, especially relating to blood draws in DWI cases. Now, there has always been some generalized resistance at the capitol to the existence of non-lawyer magistrates, but this time, the anti-government Tea Party effect crystallized that opposition into a solid voting bloc that defeated the amendment by a stunning vote of 17-121. As a result, the author of the amendment joined the ignominious "100 Club" for putting forth a matter that drew over 100 "nay" votes. We bring this to your attention because it is only one of several indications that things are changing at the state capitol. Just be glad that we passed some blood draw legislation last session, because if we hadn't, that bill would be D.O.A. this session. And that, friends, is the new legislative math for the foreseeable future.I say "Bravo!" to the Teabaggers on this front. It is about time someone stood up and argued against bills expanding the state's power to force folks to give up evidence that might incriminate themselves. The right wing of the Republican party has long championed itself as the party of limited government. As I have pointed out before, that moniker only applies when it comes to state-funded services for the poor. The right wing has never had any problem expanding the role of government when it comes to criminal justice matters.
It would appear that some members of the Tea Party movement aren't mere puppets of the GOP but actually adhere to the maxim that the government who governs least, governs best. It's good to see someone pointing out the hypocrisy in the Republican camp.
The Economist has even piped in about conservatives bringing about sentencing reform in the face of budge shortfalls.
So long as the Republican party is split among fiscal conservatives, Bible-thumpers who feel the need to tell the rest of us how to lead our lives and libertarians there will be conflicts between those who wanted limited government and those who just mouth the words.