January 15, 2009
The calm after the storm

So after yesterday's fun and games in the Senate, things will be quiet for a while, for the simple reason that the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 26. It'll be interesting to see what the mood is like when everyone comes back. I think we can be sure of three things: One, this "exception" to the two-thirds rule will not be a one-time thing; two, the Democrats are not going to take this lying down - expect them to find some creative countermeasure, if not on the inevitable voter ID bill then on something else that is a priority for Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and the Republicans; and three, expect things to be a lot less collegial this session in the Senate. Clearly, there can be only one calm chamber.

Which leads to the question: What happens to voter ID in the House? I think we'll have a better idea of what might happen once we see how Speaker Straus assigns committee membership and chairs. I expect him to be fair in general to the Craddick loyalists, but that doesn't mean he has to retain Leo Berman - who was vocally putting Straus down in the immediate aftermath of his nomination - as the chair of the Elections committee. If Berman gets the chair again, then the fix is in and you can expect there to be a lot of unhappy House Democrats once again. If a more sane Republican than Berman gets it - not a high bar to clear here - then it could go either way, but at least there's a chance it could get killed. If a Dem gets it, it's all over and the Senate posturing was just theater. If I had to guess, I'd bet on option #2. We'll know soon enough. Lots more on yesterday's action from Burka, Evan Smith, BOR, Vince, Muse, Houtopia, EoW, and Stace.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 15, 2009 to That's our Lege
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