January 26, 2007
No committees yet

Well, we were promised committee assignments for the House by yesterday, but we didn't get them. The Statesman blog has the best summary of the situation.

"The speaker promised too much to too many people," said Waco Rep. Jim Dunnam who leads the House Democratic caucus.

Given that 68 House members signaled their opposition to Craddick's re-election on Jan. 9, Craddick promised in the election aftermath to be kinder-and-gentler in running the House, listening more to the members than ramrodding his agenda.

The delay, according to Craddick loyalists who sought anonymity because their committee assignments are in play, is prompted more by his longest-serving allies feeling they are not getting enough in return for their loyalty. As Craddick told members of his new team what their assignments would be, the word trickled out to other members.

Some weren't satisfied.

Craddick is finding it hard to please everyone--or at least the 80 members who stuck with him.

Rep. Robert Talton, R-Pasadena, is questioning Craddick's motives.

"He's not kinder and gentler," said Talton, who voted against Craddick. "He's just trying to be smarter."

Wouldn't that be a sweet little piece of karma - Craddick overselling his ability to deliver goodies, like a more Machiavellian Max Bialystock, and coming a cropper because of it.

And worse for Craddick, he's run into some resistance on a vote that's normally pro forma:

Craddick asked all members to be present Tuesday for a vote on suspending a constitutional rule prohibiting consideration of legislation--not designated by the governor as emergency items--on the House floor within the first 60 days of the session.

It would take four-fifths of the House's 150 members to suspend the rules. Craddick reminded members Thursday that the rule had been suspended every legislative session but one.

But Tuesday's vote might be more difficult because as few as 31 members can kill it.

Dunnam said he sees no reason to give Craddick, criticized for being autocratic, a "blank check" to speed any legislation he choses with very little committee input.

Dunnam said Craddick used the rule suspension in 2003 to ram his pro-business agenda, including curbing the ability of people to sue companies.

Instead, given the level of distrust in the House, Dunnam said the members should suspend the rules for specific legislation instead of giving the speaker control over the early agenda.

Capitol Letters has more on this, while Eye on Williamson notes there's likely already at least 27 votes in favor of making Craddick work for it. I certainly favor that approach. We'll see what happens. Burka and Rep. Pena have more, while Pink Lady has a modest proposal.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 26, 2007 to That's our Lege