A Primary Challenge Makes People Say Funny Things

Posted in Election 2008, HD-52, 2008 Primary, 80th Legislature, Williamson County, The Lege at 9:19 am by wcnews

QR is reporting on Rep. Mike Krusee’s speech from last night’s house action. You can read it here. It’s a good speech. Full of the rhetoric of Democracy, rights of the minority, and Thomas Jefferson? Please. All the things that weren’t allowed when Rep. Krusee sneaked his toll road schemes through the Lege and past the people of Texas. It’s smacks of hypocrisy, political pandering and fear, big time, Mikey.


Sign The Texas Democartic Party Petition Asking Craddick To Resign

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, The Lege at 4:05 pm by wcnews

Here’s what it says:

We, the undersigned Texans, encourage Speaker Tom Craddick to respect the will of the people as represented by our elected Representatives and ask that he either resign immediately or allow the Texas House to vote on a motion to vacate the Chair. The business of the State of Texas is more important than any one person and should not be denied because of Speaker Craddick’s ambition.

Click here to sign it.

If There’s A Special Session

Posted in The Budget, 80th Legislature, The Lege at 12:11 am by wcnews

This BOR post discusses the possibilities of a special session and the reasons why Dewhurst may be willing to enable it.

Houston Senator Kyle Janek has told Quorum Report that he is getting votes together to filibuster the budget. After reading this, I was confused why a Republican Senator would try to force a special session and wade in on the drama in the House.

After talking with people around the capitol and listening to others chat, the rumor and supposition is this is actually a battle between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker (for now) Tom Craddick. The two have rarely seen eye to eye, and it is well known around the Capitol that the two are not friends.

The reason Janek et al. will want to kill the budget is that Dewhurst doesn’t believe Craddick can survive through a special session. The Republican infighting has now officially spread from one chamber to the other. Clearly, Craddick is doing irreparable harm to the Texas House of Representatives.

In this comment to that post former state Rep. Glen Maxey talks about how everything starts from scratch in a special session:

Keep in mind if the budget fails, we come back in a Special Session.

If you’ve been watching, you know that there are about $500 million dollars of stuff (good and bad) floating around that might be in this budget now that got put there by the conferees.

I assure you if there is a special session, all that stuff will actually be debated in the light of day, and some of it wouldn’t survive.

In a special session, you start from scratch and do a complete “do over”.

Right now, it’s only an up or down vote.

There’s a lot of members who’d like to get a second shot at this budget, cuz it’s easier to do AFTER you know what legislation has passed.

It would also allow the Gov. to add to the call and It’s pretty much a given that Voter IDiocy, a GOP base priority, would be a added to the call. And Lt. Gov. Dewhursts nemesis, Texas Rush, is all over it. If the attack on Craddick has guaranteed that Voter IDiocy is dead, dead, dead, this session, then this fight is just the gift that keeps on giving. But if all this causes a special session then all the unfinished business of the Texas GOP will get a second chance. Just some things to think about.


Proof The Moratorium Is A Sham

Posted in Privatization, 80th Legislature, Road Issues, Around The State at 11:03 pm by wcnews

Perry is for it:

“Today’s action ensures that Texas will continue to have the tools needed to support the states booming population and economic growth,” Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody said.

Krusee & Gattis On Last Night’s Action

Posted in 80th Legislature, Williamson County, The Lege at 11:28 am by wcnews

Postcards has the quotes, Craddick ruling splits Centex supporters.

After Craddick’s ruling, Rep. Mike Krusee, R-Williamson County, said he disgreed with the decision.

“I think the speaker should recognize the motion to vacate the chair,” he said. “If he doesn’t have the support of the House, he should be willing to face the vote.”

Rep. Dan Gattis, R-Georgetown, supports Craddick’s ruling.

Without it, he said the House would face anarachy.

He said the rules say a speaker has absolute authority to decide whom he recognizes for a motion and it can’t be appealed.

“If we didn’t have that rule, we’d basically be able to filibuster in the Texas House,” Gattis said. “You could shut down the whole works.”

He said a speaker has to be impeached to be removed from office.

Gattis is clearly going down with the ship and Krusee is doing nothing with his statement to keep a Craddick-funded “wing-nut” challenge out of the GOP primary. It could get crowded in that primary next year.

Otto Craddick application of Rule 5 Section 24

Posted in 80th Legislature, The Lege at 1:27 am by dembones

The action tonight in the Texas House of Representatives has been fascinating, but the current situation is not without precedent. After a number of House Speaker Tom Craddick’s supporters publicly switched sides, his emboldened opponents began to hint that they were ready to strike. Rep. Jim Dunnam (D-Falls County) raised a parliamentary inquiry, asking if the speaker would recognize someone for a privileged motion to vacate the chair.

What happened next is hazy. Parlimentarian Denise Davis was having a difficult time producing a legitimate ruling that supported Craddick’s position. Craddick suddenly suspended the session.

When the session resumed at 11 pm, Davis had resigned. Rumors surfaced that Davis was fired and escorted from her office at the state capitol. A number of members requested a copy of Davis’ letter of resignation, but Craddick said he won’t provide it until after adjournment. (Perhaps because he had not written it yet.)

Update: Here are the resignation letters of House Parliamentarian Denise Davis and Deputy House Parliamentarian Chris Griesel. Does the House have a standard form letter by which resignations are submitted? It would be difficult to conclude that Davis and Griesel wrote these letters themselves, using identical verbiage.

Former House Rep. Terry Keel, a Republican lobbyist, replaced Davis as parliamentarian. During the remainder of the evening, Keel’s voice could be heard whispering every word that would be repeated verbatim by Craddick from the dais. Keel, a strong supporter, shielded Craddick with a particularly autocratic interpretation of House rules. Member after member, Democrats and Republicans rose to challenge the speaker, who eerily continued to repeat Keel exactly.

Craddick contends he has the right not to recognize any member for any reason under House Rule 5 Section 24. However, Fred Hill (R-Dallas) pointed out that the rule does not apply to a privileged motion. So when a member rises and asks for recognition, rather than rule that the motion isn’t privileged (a decision that can be appealed), Craddick rules that he will not recognize the member to make any motion (a ruling that can not be appealed).

Jim Dunnam (D-Falls County) cited House Rule 11 Sec. 3 from the 62nd legislature when Speaker Gus Mutscher recognized a member then ruled the motion was not privileged, the House appealed the ruling. Among those who voted to overrule the decision by the speaker was The “Dirty 30“, including none other than Rep. Tom Craddick.

Keel whispered through Craddick that it was Speaker Mutscher’s discretion to recognize, and that Craddick was within his authority not to recognize.

After it became clear that there would be no way to pursuade Keel/Craddick that his application of the rules was incorrect, and that no motion to override his ruling would be allowed, the House worked through the remaining bills on the calendar and adjorned after 1:00 am.

Hat tip to John Kelso for coining the moniker “Otto” Craddick.


The Lege Caves, And Corporate Toll Roads Move Ahead - UPDATED

Posted in Privatization, 80th Legislature, Had Enough Yet?, Road Issues, Around The State at 9:41 am by wcnews

This will continue until we have responsible and courageous leaders that understand there is not such thing as something for nothing. The only way to stop this is to raise and index the gas tax and until our elected leaders figure that out, these corporate toll roads will continue to be their escaper hatch. It is also incumbent upon the people to call their elected officials - Rep. and Sen. - and assure them they will not be penalized for voting to raise and index the gas tax. Let them know that you no longer care about that mail that Grover Norquist will be sending out.

While this bill will stop “some” projects not already in the “pipeline” there’s little reason to look forward to a change during this 2-year period. The nine-member study commission that’s is part of this bill will take the interim to study how to fund our roads. But the fact that Perry’s own Governor’s Business Council (GBC) has already released a report that says indexing the gas tax will pay for all our future roads and there’s no need for tolls, shows us where he stands. Therefore there’s no guarantee that the commission - whose members will be appointed, three each, by the Gov., Lt. Gov. and Speaker - would change anything. With the current setup only Dewhurst has a future election to worry about and would, hopefully, be responsive to the will of the people. This also could be an issue in if this Speaker’s race drags on through the interim. Someone could run as an anti-toll candidate but probably won’t be a deciding factor.

If we want to change how we fund our transportation infrastructure, back to Texas owned “freeways”, than we have to get rid of any and all politicians that want to privatize our roads and gouge the taxpayer for corporate profit. Don’t forget, A gas tax is always cheaper.

HCrhon and Sal have more on this.

[UPDATE]: McBlogger adds his thoughts.

Override the veto on 1892. Call 39%’s bluff.

Craddick Humor

Posted in 80th Legislature, Commentary, The Lege at 8:26 am by wcnews

John Kelso says, Take Craddick’s belongings and throw them on the Capitol lawn.

If Texas lawmakers really want to throw House Speaker Tom Craddick out of the building, what they should do is pick up all of his stuff and set it on the Capitol lawn.


Mention Craddick’s name and the words “mean,” “small” and “autocratic” come up. I’ve heard him called autocratic so often I’m surprised they haven’t started calling him Otto — as in “Otto” Craddick.

So nevermind being civilized.

Just wait till he’s not there. Then send a moving crew of members into his posh 2,000-square-foot apartment behind the House chamber, and leave his stuff out on the Capitol lawn on bulky trash day.

Yeah, I know, the speaker’s apartment is a big ‘un, and he’s got a lot of stuff. But the Capitol also has a very big yard.

Heck, to make a few bucks off that $1 million remodel of the speaker’s apartment that Craddick and his wife, Nadine, did with private donor money, why not hold a garage sale? Maybe the lobbyists who helped fund Craddick’s apartment renovation could find a nice lamp or something.

It sure wouldn’t be hard to find folks to offload all of that furniture in the speaker’s apartment, either. Heck, with all those guys running for Craddick’s seat, each dude could grab a corner of the couch. And I’m sure the Democrats would be willing to lend a hand, too.

BOR and Kuff have the latest on Craddick’s problems.


Moratorium Deal, Amendment 13 No Longer In The Bill

Posted in Privatization, 80th Legislature, Had Enough Yet?, Road Issues, Around The State at 10:23 pm by wcnews

The Texas Observer Blog is reporting, Highway Deal Almost Done.

Rep. Smith said he hoped the governor will sign the bill “with great dispatch.” Otherwise, he added, there will be movement in the Legislature to override HB 1892, an earlier bill that Perry vetoed, which contains much of the language in the current bill.


(It’s instructive at this point to remember state Sen. Steve Ogden’s lament early in the session when he told TxDot officials that there wasn’t one legislator who hadn’t experienced voter backlash as a result of the department’s headlong rush to turn over the state’s infrastructure to multinational corporations.)

Smith said he and fellow legislators were acutely aware of voters’ concerns and tried to address them. “This is probably the first bill that the Legislature has ever done which has said to a state agency, ‘We see what you’re doing and we want to be part of the direction in which you’re going.’”

Smith emphasized the bill is just a first step in an ongoing evaluation of how roads are financed and built. Under the measure, a nine-member committee will continue to study and monitor the issue during the two-year period when the Legislature is not in session.

Smith said Amendment 13, an item sponsored by state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, is no longer in the bill. Amendment 13 would have specifically included facility agreements in the moratorium. These agreements are basically sub-agreements to comprehensive development agreements. CDAs are the over-arching contracts that lay out the terms for how the toll roads are financed and constructed.

I hate to say I told you so, but…

I wonder what “great dispatch” means and exactly when the override process will start.

My Thoughts On The Democratic Leadeshsip And The Iraq War

Posted in Election 2008, Elections, Commentary, Around The Nation at 12:41 pm by wcnews

Ketih Olbermann nailed it last night, go here to read and/or watch his Special Comment. Here’s a little:

You, the men and women elected with the simplest of directions—Stop The War—have traded your strength, your bargaining position, and the uniform support of those who elected you… for a handful of magic beans.

You may trot out every political cliché from the soft-soap, inside-the-beltway dictionary of boilerplate sound bites, about how this is the “beginning of the end” of Mr. Bush’s “carte blanche” in Iraq, about how this is a “first step.”

Well, Senator Reid, the only end at its beginning… is our collective hope that you and your colleagues would do what is right, what is essential, what you were each elected and re-elected to do.

Because this “first step”… is a step right off a cliff.

Read the rest of this entry »

« Previous entries · Next entries »