May 11, 2005
HB789 rears its ugly head again

Having been stymied in the Senate, Rep. Phil King has turned to trickery to force through the telco-friendly bills HB789 and HB3179. He's attached them as amendments to the must-pass SB408, a bill about the Public Utilities Commission which has already passed the Senate. Sen. Jane Nelson is on record opposing this.

"We are at that point of the session when members are trying to amend their legislation onto other bills that are moving more quickly through the process," said Nelson, author of the PUC bill. "I understand that inclination. However, it is my preference that sunset legislation remain clean of major policy shifts."

King's nemesis Sen. Troy Fraser isn't happy, either.

Mr. Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said Tuesday that consumers could pay millions more in telephone charges if the additions are passed. He said he would hold a hearing as early as next week and push his own competing proposal for a more gradual deregulation of telephone service.

"Bills of this magnitude that involve this much money that would be coming from the public need to have a fair hearing by both houses of the Legislature," he said.

Don't let that stop you from taking action to oppose this back-door effort. There's a reason these bills got stalled out. Status quo isn't always bad, after all. With time running out in the session and a prohibition on new bills being introduced, there will be more of this to watch out for, so keep your eyes open. Thanks to Dwight and Bob for the heads-up.

UPDATE: More from Stace.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 11, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack

I'm not sure I'd say HB 789 has been stymied in the Senate. As the Statesman article noted, Sen. Frasier was working on a substitute that would address some of the significant anti-consumer and anti-(other-than-SBC)-business concerns. The process seemed to be working...that is, it was until Rep. King hijacked SB 408.

Posted by: chip on May 12, 2005 9:39 AM