State lawmakers Darby and Burrows discuss Texas politics at Howard College

The Texas Tribute hosted a discussion of state politics Thursday with state representatives Dustin Burrows and Drew Darby at Howard College. The event, which was open to the public, was hosted by Tribune CEO Evan Smith.

Early conversation focused on the state budget, with Smith asking the representatives about allocation of funds. Darby said he sees the smaller budget this year as a “great opportunity to pull each item out” and examine its effectiveness. Darby showed support for cutting funding to state agencies and focusing on public education as a state priority, referring to the “existing school-funding formula” as “antiquated and dysfunctional.”

When the conversation moved on to border security, both Burrows and Darby spoke about the federal government’s responsibility to take a larger role. Darby referred to President-elect Trump’s plan to build a physical wall on the border as an impossibility. “Where are you going to build it? In the middle of the river? Otherwise you’re going to cut off private property rights.” Darby said an increase in the use of technology, such as adding more video cameras along the border would be a more viable step in the right direction. Burrows agreed, adding that an increase in personnel would be beneficial for border security.

On the issue of health insurance, Burrows showed enthusiasm to revisit ideas that were being discussed before the Affordable Health Act, saying the key to successful health insurance is price transparency.

The last item brought up by Smith was Senate Bill 6, the so-called “bathroom bill.” Neither Burrows nor Darby showed much concern on the matter, with Darby agreeing with Smith’s suggestion that the bill is “a solution in search of a problem,” at least in this part of the state. “I don’t see this as a problem. It has not been a problem out here in West Texas.”

Burrows voiced more concern. “Some of these discrimination ordinances have gotten a little bit out of control in other parts of the country,” Burrows said. “And I don’t want to show up or have anybody show up into a patchwork of ideas where I can get into trouble because I didn’t use the right pronoun with somebody.”