January 12, 2005
And they're off

And so the 79th Texas Legislature is officially in session, with the usual pronouncements of bipartisanship, Serious Talk about Serious Solutions to Serious Problems, and miscellaneous pomp and circumstance. Let the wild rumpus begin!

Three new Houston legislators were among those sworn in yesterday, including Melissa Noriega, who is pinch-hitting for her husband Rick, currently serving in Afghanistan. We're still two weeks away from the hearing for the Heflin contest. Hubert Vo will be a full voting member (except, of course, for the contest itself) until then.

Here's an item for the new Lege that I hope we can all get behind.

The Texas House and Senate may adopt rules later this week that will require more votes to be recorded and make it easier for the public to track those votes online.

Texas is one of nine states that does not require lawmakers to record all of their votes. Legislators often take voice votes, which are not recorded for public view.

The only votes required to be recorded are committee votes and proposed constitutional amendments, which require approval of two-thirds of the members.

Though legislation has been filed to require all votes to be recorded, the issue also could be addressed immediately through rules changes. Lawmakers are scheduled to vote on rules for each chamber Thursday.

There are some grumblings that what has been proposed isn't enough, but it's at least a start.

Finally, the United Ways of Texas is blogging the 79th Lege. The first entry is here. Looks promising, but if anyone can tell where their blog index link (and RSS feed link) is, I'd be obliged if you could point it out to me. Via Sarah.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 12, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack

I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it, because I've witnessed good bills pass on non-recorded votes before that couldn't have passed on the record (and, certainly, lots of bad bills pass that way, too). But Consumers Union has an action alert up where folks can ask their legislators to support recorded votes here.

Posted by: Scott on January 12, 2005 4:29 PM