Tempers fly….so does House rule book

May 27, 2011 No Comments ›› admin

By Gary Scharrer

Tempers got even testier moments ago when House Calendars Chairman Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi wanted to suspend all necessary rules for several controversial bills on Monday’s agenda.

Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, threw the House rule book high into the air to show his disgust.

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, raised his voice from the back microphone – pointing out that Hunter’s extraordinarily unusual motion required one-hour notice.

“If you don’t want to enforce rules, that’s on you,” Fischer said in a loud voice to House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. “That’s not on us.”

He also reminded Straus that House members took down former House Speaker Tom Craddick, R-Midland, and more than two years ago because of his strong-armed rule.

House and Senate leaders risk losing control because of the way they are trying to advance controversial legislation involving immigration, tort reform, school reform and massive budget cuts.

Hunter’s motion would have made it easier to pass some of those bills on Monday.

Emotions are pretty raw. So Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas, sought a motion to adjourn the House until Monday considering the “discord.”

But members overwhelmingly rejected the effort to adjourn.

The House is now working on routine bills not likely to trigger any outbursts.

But….we’ll see.

Rep. Lon Burnham, D-Fort Worth, is now making an issue over the vote to adjourn, which was 96-6 with one member present not voting. That means there are only 103 members in the chamber. Burnham asked for a verification to determine if 103 members are actually here. The House would have to adjourn if there are fewer than 100 members.

But Straus rejected Burnham’s request.

Expect more vote challenges.

A bill just got 101 votes.

The debate continues as there might not be a quorum.

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