A House Gone Mad

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, The Lege at 9:51 am by wcnews

Best I can tell last night on the floor of the Texas House something happened that hasn’t happened in 24 years. QR reports that the last time a Chair/Speaker’s ruling was challenged was 1973 and the Speaker was Price Daniel. The Chair’s ruling, while incorrect, is one that in a “normal” session is just let go by the members. An obvious local bill was placed on the Major State Calendar, that’s a no no. That this challenge came to be is just another sign of the ongoing battle between the members, Speaker Craddick and his “leadership” style. But Harvey Kronberg also reported earlier in the day yesterday, in his weekly News 8 Commentary, that Craddick’s power (is) crumbling as opposition mounts. And this is not a “normal” session.

With only three weeks left to this legislative session, something startling is going on in the Texas House of Representatives. For the first time since the Republican takeover of 2003, a bipartisan group has quietly moved power from the podium to the members on the floor.

Despite the attempts to save face by certain of his minions - Rep. Gattis and Rep. Bonnen (see QR/Talton Challenges..) - what happened last night reinforces exactly what Harvey said. A bipartisan group has taken power from the Speaker. Capitol Letters has this post - and much, much more on last night’s action - on the final vote.

House: 87-50 Point of Order Respectfully Overruled

Respectfully, I should say, depending on who you ask.

The point was overruled, the bill presumably sent back to Calendars where it languishes - until someone, out of sympathy for the guys down in Zapata, moves to suspend the rules and pass the bill.

Now, clearly many many MANY people were taking a speaker vote.

Others were not. Gattis, for example, and Dutton both made it clear that they weren’t voting against the speaker.

At this point, it’s safe to say that all the 68 people who voted against Craddick on the speaker’s election day are holding fast.

And its also safe to say - because I have first hand knowledge of this - that a few of the “yes” votes during the speaker’s race just voted “no” for the speaker.

What that means in the long run, I don’t know. There’s been rumblings of “vacating the chair” since the speaker’s race. I don’t know if this body will have the desire, will, guts, cohones, whatever, to pull the trigger on another speaker’s race before the end of the session.

As Gattis pointed out, everyone’s “battlescarred.”

You know, maybe they should just start partying together more, like they used to.


No matter why that happened last night, this shows that there’s a bipartisan majority in the Texas House, that has the power to control what does and doesn’t get done in the House for the rest of this session. Somehow, in the next 20 days, the Speaker will need to reckon with that.

Note: The bill in question was authored by Rep. Ryan Guillen. Want to guess whether he voted with the Speaker in January - against a secret ballot in the Speaker’s race. Here’s the link to the bill, HB 4068, and the record vote, # 1047. If you click on the record vote you’ll see that only three Democrats voted with the Speaker - Dutton, Guillen and Peña - all voted with the Speaker in January.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » Not Much There There For Perry, Dewhurst & Craddick said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:19 am

    [...] Gov trying to plow the ground for a run at the governor’s office, a neutered Speaker, and a House gone mad. This legislative session has dished out repeated helpings of defeat and disgruntlement to [...]

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.