September 15, 2003
Senate meets and adjourns

Byron has most of the coverage worth reading. Basically, the Senate convened, a quorum was announced, and a motion to adjourn was recognized and approved, all before the Texas Ten entered. The gallery, which was packed with Texas Ten supporters, booed this action, then went nuts when the holdouts entered a few minutes later.

The Quorum Report has a number of highlights, including a report of a "peace offering" map that is not as aggressive as prior maps. The Statesman has some info:

The special session opened Monday with a new map filed by Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine. The map is much different than the one he authored a month ago.

He said the proposed congressional map more nearly reflects the districts that elected 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats to the Texas Senate. Some maps in the past would increase the Republican membership in Congress to 21.


Staples' latest map, which will be heard by the Senate Jurisprudence Committee on Wednesday, leaves Travis County largely as it is.

Williamson County would dominate an East Texas district that would include northern Bastrop County. The southern half of Bastrop would be in a Gulf Coast district. Western Travis and Hays County would remain in District 21, now represented by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio.

Staples defended the map as leaving minority districts virtually alone.

Without having seen the map, I'll say this: There was no justification for carving up Travis County other than pure naked partisan greed. Not doing that, whatever else the merits or demerits of this map may be, is at least a recognition of that reality, and for that I'll tip my hat to Sen. Staples. Doesn't mean I'd support this map, mind you, but at least now we're both probably on the same planet.

The fines are still in place, and some other privileges such as parking are still revoked. According to the Quorum Report, the Senate leadership is considering its disciplinary options:

Senate Administration Committee Chairman Chris Harris (R-Arlington) has asked his staff to research what other state legislatures do to enforce a quorum.

Harris recessed his committee pending this information following a request from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

In a letter to Harris, Dewhurst asked the administration committee to make recommendations early this week to the full Senate regarding any necessary changes to the Senate Rules on establishing and maintaining a quorum.

QR also speculates on what will come next:

It has long been our premise that there are 6-8 Republican senators prepared to pour gasoline on the current battle with their Democratic colleagues. Similarly, the Senate Democratic Caucus has 3-4 with armed grenades ready for today (symbolically speaking).

That leaves nineteen senators for whom the last month was passionate but not determinative -- an episode that should be gotten past so the Senate can return to normal.

The two parties will caucus separately this morning before the session begins to figure out their opening tactics..

This is a moment for the Lt. Governor to assert himself and enable the center. He has the most to lose if the Senate devolves into open warfare.

Passions are high, but it is time to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

We shall see. Remaining coverage is here in the Chron, Statesman and Statesman again, Morning News (AP wire story), Express News, and Star Telegram.

Finally, QR has an amusing cartoon that sums it all up pretty well.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 15, 2003 to Killer D's | TrackBack