From the way the two camps are positioning themselves – Carona (Senate), Pikcett (House) – there may not be a deal on the TxDOT Sunset bill, HB 300, before the Midnight deadline on Saturday. This from Vaqueros & Wonkeros, Pickett gives lobbyists an earful; Carona says TxDOT bill’s fate is in Pickett’s hands.
State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, gave some transportation lobbyists what-for today after he said he found out they were collecting signatures on a petition he considered misleading.
“I swore a lot, and I apologize to my mother, but I do not apologize to them. They deserved it,” said Pickett, chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
Pickett said some lobbyists were asking House members to sign a petition they said he supported to give consideration to the local tax and fee option. He said the tactic was misleading.
“I got mad,” he said. “This is a big deal.”
He said leaving in the local tax and fee option could result in the whole bill dying in the House. There are too many important reforms in the measure to let the whole thing fail, Pickett said.
[State Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas] said the Senate has compromised, lowering the fees communities could charge to raise transportation dollars. They have also agreed, he said, to keep the phase-out provision for red light cameras, although future legislation could change that.
“It just defies logic that the House would not be given the opportunity to vote on this bill,” Carona said.
The House and Senate members must agree on a final version of the bill soon, or it could die.
The bill must be printed and distributed by midnight Saturday and must be voted on by midnight Sunday.
Carona said if Pickett would support the compromises the Senate has agreed to, the rest of the House would follow his lead since he is the chairman of the Transportation Committee.
“It all has come down to Joe Pickett,” Carona said. “Joe is a capable leader, and I need him to step forth now when it really counts.”
It’s too bad to see the Senate stud giving up so easy and leaving this bill in the hands of another legislator. This via QR, Pickett Says The Votes Aren’t There For Local Option Transportation Funding.
House Transportation Chair Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso) challenges anyone, including the full might and power of Hillco Partners, to produce a list of 77 members of the House who would vote for a local option transportation tax. It just doesn’t exist, Pickett said
“Whoever gave the Senate a list of 77 members is ruining the bargaining position of the House,” Pickett said. “That’s especially true when they say they’re not going to show the names to you. That’s like everyone in the Speaker’s race saying they have 77 votes, and it ends up being something like 300 members.”
Pickett goes on to say that the three times he polled members of the house on some form of gas tax increase or indexing, he’s come up with about 50 members to vote for it. So if the local option tax is a deal breaker for Carona the get the TxDOT Sunset bill passed a deal may not get done.