SB 792 Is In The House Today

Posted in 80th Legislature, Around The State, Privatization, Road Issues at 10:46 am by wcnews

It’ll be on the floor today. The “compromise” bill, which apparently will also be a catch-all for members to stick all there dying legislation on as amendments, which could stall it’s journey to the govenror’s desk.

A growing number of House members, according to Smith’s office, have begun to regard the must-pass toll road legislation as a handy vehicle on which to hang dead or dying bills.

By one estimate, there could be several dozen suggested amendments offered when the bill comes up today.

“I would hope that we could pass 792 without amendments, but that’s not likely,” Smith, a Baytown Republican, said Wednesday. “I hope that the members understand that their amendments should fit the spirit of the bill.”

Translated, that means: Don’t try to put anything on there that Perry wouldn’t like.

And Rep. Simth’s “legislators only” room didn’t get much traffic.

Supporters hoped to run the bill through the House unchanged this week in time for Perry to sign it Friday, before the veto deadline for HB 1892. Under that scenario, HB 1892 would then be recalled from Perry by a legislative resolution and laid to rest.

But the sudden effusion of amendments, along with unease among House members about getting a complex, significant bill late in the session, slowed the process.

To address this, Smith’s office took the unusual step Wednesday of setting up a legislators-only room in a conference room behind the House chamber, complete with maps, the 64-page bill and other educational materials, so lawmakers could go by and learn how it might affect their House district.

At midafternoon, despite a desultory pace of legislating on the House floor, no members had yet visited the room.

The TO Blog adds this, Strap On Your Seatbelts.

Although Sen. John Carona and his fellow legislators made a valiant effort to keep some of the toll-road controls in place, the compromise bill has so many authors, so many special interests, and so many exemptions that the final product is very difficult to decipher. (How we yearn for the days in the not-too-distant past when Sen. Robert Nichols offered up an elegantly simple two-page moratorium bill.)

When the action shifts back to the House tomorrow, members will have a number of choices. If they go along with the Senate version, the bill in all likelihood will be rushed to the Governor’s Office. Ricky has already indicated he will sign that one.

But if the House members are in a “mischievous” mood, as Round Rock Rep. Mike Krusee delicately puts it, they could tack their own amendments onto the Senate legislation. Then the package heads back to conference committee. If no compromise can be reached, the bill probably will die.

Should be fun…and Perry’s only got until Midnight Friday to make his decision on the veto.

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