The state Senate last week nixed Gov. Rick Perry's nomination of anti-sex-toy activist Shanda Perkins for a seat on the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The rejection of the former Burleson banker and big-time Perry supporter came as a relief to criminal justice advocates, who were appalled by the nomination of a partisan hack with no criminal justice experience to become a member of a board that makes life-and-death decisions. Perhaps Perkins' only experience in criminal justice (aside from some prison ministering she's apparently done) was her role in prompting the arrest of a woman, Joanne Webb, for hosting so-called Passion Parties, the sex-toy equivalent of a Tupperware party, which supposedly violated obscenity laws. The dustup in Burleson eventually ended, Webb's arrest was deemed unconstitutional, and the state ban on the sale of sex toys was finally axed last year.
Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, joined Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, to block the nomination on the Senate floor, telling colleagues that Perkins simply wasn't qualified to serve on the board. The Senate voted 27-4 to reject Perkins.