Sunday, November 6, 2011
Don't nitpick, don't try to Jew them down
Austin, TX - A state lawmaker used a Jewish slur during a legislative committee hearing while telling officials not to delay or cheat people out of legitimate property insurance claims.
Rep. Larry Taylor, of Friendswood, who leads the House Republican Caucus and is the chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Windstorm Insurance, told officials with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, "Don't nitpick, don't try to Jew them down."
Taylor quickly followed that the remark was "probably a bad term," but he kept speaking without interruption. Through a spokesman, Taylor later issued an apology.
"I inadvertently used a phrase that many people find offensive. I corrected myself immediately when I realized what I had said. I regret my poor choice of words and sincerely apologize for any harm they may have caused," Taylor said.
A telephone message seeking comment from House Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish, was not immediately returned.
Taylor is running for a state Senate seat. As leader of the House Republicans, he was criticized for being one of several House lawmakers absent from the Capitol last June when lawmakers were in special session. Taylor spent a week in the Bahamas on a family vacation.
The hearing was to address the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which provides property and business coverage in 14 coastal counties and part of Harris County.
Following Hurricane Ike in 2008, there were numerous allegations of collusion between claims adjusters and the associations. More than 1,900 policyholders sued the association for failing to pay for legitimate damages.
State lawmakers this year approved changes that allow policy holders to sue for their claims and collect double damages, but only if they meet strict new standards to prove that TWIA intentionally denied a legitimate claim.