The vote on HR4, the resolution to suspend the constitutional rule against bringing bills to the floor in the first 60 days of a legislative session, has been conducted, and the resolution has failed, with 34 votes against, more than enough to sink it. Given that only 142 votes total were cast, 23 nays would have been sufficient, as the 4/5ths provision refers to total membership, not those present. Looks like the debate got a little contentious - see here, here, and here for examples. That last link contains some data that I think gives the whole debate some perspective:
[Democratic Rep. Jim] Dunnam is up now. Says look at the facts of what we are really talking about. "We are told if we don't pass this, the whole House will come to gridlock. I have the calendars from the last several sessions. In the 76th legislature, do you know how many were brought up in the first 60 days? Two! In the 77th, we brought up six. In the 78th session, six came to the House floor, and in the 79th session, ten bills. Those include the emergency bills. So you are being told if we can't bring up ten bills in the next 60 days the Senate is going to rule the world and the sky is going to fall. If we can't take up 6-10 bills in the next 60 days, nobody's bills are going to be passed. That's not credible. You know that."
UPDATE: Looking at the list of nays, I'm struck by a couple of things: Six freshman Democrats voted against Craddick. Several members not known for being agitators - I'm thinking people like Scott Hochberg and Mike Villarreal in particular, but there are others - voted against Craddick. Rick Noriega, who was named to Appropriations despite being a vote against Craddick for Speaker, voted against Craddick. Make of that what you will.
I'm told that this vote in years past has been conducted on the same day as the Speaker vote. While it's easy to see why that didn't happen this time, you have to wonder if holding it after committee assignments came out was a smart move by Team Craddick. Maybe he should have kept the leverage he had. On the other hand, maybe he'll spin this as "I didn't retaliate in committee assignments, and this is the thanks I get." Who knows? This session has already been more interesting than the two (regular) ones that preceeded it.Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 30, 2007 to That's our Lege