Rep. Dawnna Dukes’ explanation for absences raises more questions


Indicted state Rep. Dawnna Dukes told KUT that the reason Texas House records show that she has missed nine out of the first 14 days of the legislative session is that her colleagues are not marking her present when she is in the chamber but not at her desk, a common practice.

“Absolutely, I’ve been there and the journal is not always correct,” Dukes, an Austin Democrat, told KUT. “Apparently there’s a new one or two that don’t know the process.”

Dukes’ comments to KUT come a day after the American-Statesman reported that she had missed all but five of the first 14 days the House has met, according to the daily House journal. Dukes did not respond to a request for comment for that story.

A Statesman reporter has been present for most days the House has met so far, and Dukes was not in the chamber for many of them. Her desk is directly in front of the seating area for journalists.

Dukes’ claim that she was in the House even when marked absent is problematic.

When a legislator is running late or is away from his or her desk, other members near the desk often mark the legislator present or even cast votes for the absent legislator, a practice allowed under House rules. Dukes is arguing that new members unfamiliar with the practice have failed to cast votes for her.

If that were the case, Dukes would likely be shown as absent for some votes and present for others, when she was near her desk. But in each of the days the Statesman cited as Dukes being absent, Dukes was marked absent for every vote the House took that day.

In the 2015 legislative session, Dukes missed 84 percent of House votes and 44 of 50 committee meetings, House records show. She cited medical issues stemming from a 2013 car crash as the reason for her absences last session.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

San Marcos teacher charged with having relationship with student
San Marcos teacher charged with having relationship with student

SAN MARCOS Teacher charged with having relationship with student A San Marcos teacher and coach is accused of having an improper relationship with a student, according to his arrest affidavit. Rodney Guerrero, 39, was arrested Saturday and charged with improper relationship between educator/student. He describes himself as “the boys athletic...
Hispanic civil rights group ‘suspends’ affiliation with Southwest Key
Hispanic civil rights group ‘suspends’ affiliation with Southwest Key

Hispanic civil rights group UnidosUS this week suspended its affiliation with Austin-based Southwest Key Programs, as some of its workers face allegations they abused migrant children in facilities the organization runs. “Not only has the organization failed to convey that it understands the gravity and magnitude of the situation, it has failed...
Austin-area schools post positive messages on campus bathroom stalls
Austin-area schools post positive messages on campus bathroom stalls

Bonnie Boboia’s sixth-grade son, Vincent, was struggling to fit in. The Boboia family had moved from Chandler, Ariz., to Leander last year, making the already thorny middle school years a little more difficult as Vincent tried to navigate a new school and make friends. “They’re going through an awkward stage,” Boboia said. &ldquo...
TEXAS DIGEST: Coast Guard rescues 3 boaters off Galvestion

GALVESTON Coast Guard saves 3 boaters The Coast Guard has rescued three boaters found clinging to the hull of their capsized 24-foot vessel off Galveston. A Coast Guard statement said all three men were unharmed in Monday afternoon’s incident shortly after leaving Galveston. Officials received a mayday call from a man saying his recreational...
Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan stepping down after 4 years
Texas Tech Chancellor Robert Duncan stepping down after 4 years

Robert Duncan, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System and a former state lawmaker, announced this week that he will retire at the end of the month after a little more than four years as the system’s chief executive. “As we approach the start of a new school year, I look back with pride on the tremendous strides we have made in recent...
More Stories