Friday, October 29, 2010

Don't Mess with Texas...Lobbyists?

Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

As a lobbyist for the architectural profession, my job is to advocate for architects. Every day I come to work with the sole mission of ensuring that architects are effectively represented at all level of state government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Every day I review rules, laws, proposed laws, proposed rules to analyze the impact on the profession and to act on them.

But come November 15th (in a couple of weeks), my mission the entire day will be centered around training to acquire a license to carry a concealed handgun. You may ask: “What does THAT have to do with the architectural profession?” Well, the State Capitol now has metal detectors. To get in and out, your purse is searched and you have to wait in line to get through the metal detector. If you’ve been to the Capitol during the legislative Session, you’re familiar with the crowds of school children and interest groups “storming” the Capitol. So you can imagine how long the lines are going to be just to get into the building. Couple that with the fact that lobbyists frequently need quick access to hearing rooms and to the Lobby in front of the House and Senate chambers. There are times when one literally has a few minutes notice on a bill being called up or an amendment that is problematic and needs action right away.

In a swift response, the Texas Lobby have organized themselves to take a CHL (Concealed Handgun License) class so that all lobbyists can flash their CHL to bypass the lines. So…only in this great state of Texas would the entire Lobby be registered to carry a weapon. So come Monday, November 15th, watch out! I’ll be learnin’ to pack heat…all in the name of architects. Who would of thought? Wish me luck (and everyone else in that class) that no one loses a finger!

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