NPT Capitol: Special session looks off the cards, Straus scolded
An HCR looks like it has saved the legislature from the need for a special session. But not before Straus took a somber mauling from a number of state Reps.
HCR 291 was the cause of sparring on the House floor between state Reps Sylvester Turner, Dawna Dukes and Yvonne Davis on one side, and Speaker Straus and Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts on the other.
Davis called a point of order on HCR 291, which tweaks HB 2583 – something HCRs are allowed to do (and for which the last day of session is allotted.)
Davis called it a “blatant attempt to the fix the problem that they are too ashamed to ask the members on.” Davis was referring to a rather clever amendment Pitts threw into the HCR, which resolves that state agencies receiving stimulus funds (i.e. all of ’em – even the ones that sunset after yesterday’s cluster-chub) will exist for the next two years.
Davis was overruled. State agencies look set to keep on existing. A special session seems to have been avoided. But is it a stroke of genius or a fudge to cover a fumble?
Turner and Davis weren’t finished.
“We ought to be insulted that they would call this a technical correction,” Davis said, referring to the fact that the HCR goes beyond tweaking HB 2853 and salvages a massive chunk of government infrastructure.
The cynic may accuse Turner and Davis of a clever PR play – The session begun with the Senate fudging rules in order to bring up voter ID – the session ends with the House doing the same in order to fix a Strausian, “will-of-the-House” created mess. If so it was a bi-partisan play – Hartnett, a former Craddick lieutenant and Republican jumped saying the HCR would set a “dangerous precedent.”
Turner finished proceedings saying that whether a Speaker is “authoritarian” or “mild,” if they break the rules then “the bite is always the same.”
The HCR passed 111- 29. Straus kept his cool. Perry, of course, retains his constitutional prerogative to call a special session if he deems it necessary.
Ironically, as one reported just pointed out to me, if Perry doesn’t want a special session, it will be federal stimulus dollars that saved him…