Arlington State Rep. Bill Zedler is Fighting Against Sharia Law, Other Imaginary Threats
During the 2011 session of the Texas Legislature, after hearing a report on the radio indicating that judges in Dearborn, Michigan, now embrace Islamic jurisprudence, state Representative Leo Berman, a Republican from Tyler, filed a bill to keep Texas courtrooms free of sharia law. The proposal was referred to committee, where it died a quiet death. With Berman's defeat in this past May's Republican primary, that seemed like it might be the end of the Legislature's quixotic fight against sharia law.
Not on Bill Zedler's watch. Fresh off his victory against uteri everywhere, Zedler filed a bill seeking to outlaw sharia law in Texas. The bill refers generally to "foreign or international law or doctrine" and doesn't specifically mention Sharia, so hypothetically he could just as well be attacking the Canadian justice system.
If that were indeed the case, it would fly in the face of everything we know about Zedler, who has made his reputation championing the causes of the rightward fringe. And the bill is a repeat; the one he filed in 2011 was simply overshadowed by Berman's.
Texas Monthly thought enough of Zedler to include him on the magazine's 2011 worst-legislators list, marveling that he managed to pass only three bills through a Legislature dominated by very conservative Republicans. His "agenda remained too kooky" even for them.
Then there was the fact that Zedler, well, wasn't very collegial.
When the House was meeting, Zedler spent much of his time at his desk talking on his Bluetooth or heckling whichever Democrat was at the front mike, smiling his odd little mortician's smile. You'd think that someone who launched his political career in a group called Decency for Arlington would try a little harder to spread some of that decency in Austin.
Zedler's aiming to win a spot on the list again. Among other repeat bills he's filed for the 2013 session are a pair seeking to defang the already toothless Texas Medical Board and one that would bar discrimination against professors who teach intelligent design or "other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms." (You can read his laughable defense of the latter in a 2011 interview with Mother Jones.)
New this year is a measure that would give the attorney general more power to investigate election fraud. And we all know where the attorney general stands on that.
We left a message for Zedler to talk about his legislative agenda and are waiting for, but not expecting, a call back.