NPT Capitol: “Now we’re in session baby!” UPDATED
Everyone just got a bit excited in the Texas House. The reason? A vote verification. A vote verification is taken when a record vote is close in order to verify the result. An amendment by Harold Dutton, D-Houston to a bill by Pete Gallego and El Paso rep. Joe Moody’s HB 2066 just went down 71-70.
The call for a record vote led to whooping and cheering by state Reps.
“Now we’re in session baby!” I overheard Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton saying, with a number of other reps gleefully agreeing. On a recount the amendment went down again. Expect more arguments as the session goes into the last 40 day.
The vote was preceded by a good scrap between Moody and Dutton on the back and front mics respectively. Moody prodded Dutton over the usefulness of his amendment until the Houston Rep. got annoyed, cutting in and saying, if you (Moody) want to preach then come up here, if you’ve got a question then ask it.
“We got caught up in a debate about how we prove those cases instead of just promoting good policy,” said Moody afterward.
Moody and Dutton disagreed about the bill in question, which aims to combat domestic violence by toughening the penalties when an assault involves strangulation or suffocation. Dutton told NPT he was concerned that someone could be prosecuted for a felony despite their being a lack of physical evidence (ie marks on a victims neck) and questioned why the penalty enhancement only applied to those who assault family members.
Moody argued that often victims of domestic violence report assaults after marks or bruises are no longer evident. “His amendment would have made it harder to prosecute the more serious offenses that we are trying to tackle with that bill,” said Moody. Dutton’s amendment failed. “I think we did the right thing, the will of the house prevailed and the best policy is going to go forward,” Moody said.