Once again, not much drama in the lower chamber.
After an all-day debate, the House approved its rules for the 2009 legislative session in a relaxed atmosphere overseen by new Speaker Joe Straus.
The most intense squabble came when the chamber overrode the wishes of the speaker's point man on rules, Rep. Burt Solomons, over the assignment of bills relating to the telecommunications and electric industries.
Solomons, with Straus' approval, had first suggested eliminating the Regulated Industries Committee and spreading those issues over several committees.
However, the chamber ultimately moved the telecommunications and electrical industries into the State Affairs Committee in an 82-65 vote.
[I]n response to attempts in 2007 to remove Craddick as speaker, the House passed a rule saying a majority -- 76 members -- can remove a speaker.
Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, urged members to raise that number to 90, saying removing the speaker is an emotional vote that could jeopardize legislation. (Craddick himself supported that higher bar Wednesday.)
But Rep. Jim Keffer, an Eastland Republican and one of the leaders in the revolt against Craddick, disagreed.
"It's a problem to build a firewall around a speaker who's not doing his job," he said.
In the end, the House voted 87-60 to allow a majority to remove a speaker.
There was a move by the Democrats to pass a rule saying the House would not vote on any bill that cleared the Senate without a two-thirds procedural vote until the appropriations conference committee report is done. You know what that was in response to. The votes for it were not there, and it didn't make it to the floor. In the end, the rules were adopted by a 147-1 vote, with Speaker Straus casting a Yes and Houston Rep. Harold Dutton being the only No. There will be 34 committees instead of 40, with some committees having more members on them. Committee assignments are still a week or more away, though the Senate should get theirs today.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 29, 2009 to That's our Lege