Liveblogging the Lege Opening

Here in the Chronicle news-heap, Channel 6 is blaring, it's five minutes to game time, and we're giddy with anticipation to see what the speaker race will bring. Will it be a nail-biter, or, as Lee Nichols compared it to the bowl game last night, a bona fide ass-whupping? We'll update here live as it happens.

Bells are ringing! And there's that creepy biker dude with the face tats who's on Public Access all the time in the gallery.

The House will convene shortly, says the screen. The house looks like a phalanx of worker ants circling around.

"Welcome to the 80th session of the Texas House of Representatives!" Lovely 1980s-era Betamax graphics of the dome.

Looks like Craddick's making it to the podium. Very surreal with no ambient or background noise; they only turn the mics on when someone's at one.

Gaveled to order. Who is this at the podium? Secretary of State Roger Williams. Invocation time. "Let's pray for some of that Roger Williams money." Is he the used car salesman?

"The Star Spangled Banner." Pax Texana. Dude belted that out. Pledges to the flags. When does Caligula's horse get sworn in?

The rest continued below the fold.

Roger Williams announces he's going to speak for the longest three minutes of your life. Now he's quoting renowned Jew hater Henry Ford.

Appointment of temporary officers and more parliamentary procedure bullshit.

Damn. Roll call time. Members must announce present. "Patrick Rose? President!"

Chronicle Features Editor Kate X Messer is sitting in the lounge with me as they read off the names: "That guy's gay. He's gay too. Gay. Gay. Gay."

There's 150 districts, by the way. They're on 95 right now.

One hundred forty-one! Senfronia! Woo Hoo!

The Oath of Office is being administered. Chron photog Jana Birchum needs to get outta the shot.

Is it the Houston delegation getting called to the podium? I dunno.

Boorrinng. I have no clue what they're doing right now, but it does not make for riveting viewing. I'm beginning to miss the Channel 6 City of Austin PowerPoint slides, dude. Just a bunch of glad-handing and backslapping.

Just announced they'll recess for five minutes … which normally means at least 10 in House parlance. C'mon! We want blood!

According to the liveblog at In the Pink Texas, it's capacity-crowd seating in the gallery, so that's why Williams was asking everybody to leave.

"At ease/As I mob with the Dogg Pound, feel the breeze, beeeyatch/I'm just/Rollin' down the street/Smokin' Indo/Sippin' on Gin and Juice."

Ain't nobody at ease no more. Looks like they're about to reconvene.

About to adopt rules of the election. "Is there an objection?" Rene Oliveira (D) is asking if adopting the rules puts the current speaker in the driver's seat. But still, no major movement.

"Waiting on a resolution to be copied and scanned, so it could be several minutes." And democracy is on the march.

"So whaddya wanna do with that fake $14 million we got?" "Uh, Padre!"

So sayeth Phillip Martin at BOR: "They temporarily adopted the rules from last session. Oliveira asked to clarify that adopting the prior rules wouldn't put Craddick into the chair. It does not, no one objected. There's a resolution to vote on what will come up next ... the resolution on how to vote for speaker. Once it's loaded on the computer, members can vote on it."

And the carving of stone copies continues unabated. Alright, HR 33 is being passed out, which has the rules and such for the election, apparently.

Res being read, finally: Wait, it's not. OK here we go.

From Charlie Geren – nominations come from the floor via speech, not to exceed five minutes. Gotta be seconded by a member.

Resolution adopted. As this is taking place at lunchtime, lemme say: Paul Newman makes an excellent sun-dried tomato vinaigrette!

Several resolutions must now be reviewed as to how the actual vote will take place, says Williams. Apparently Craddick wants his supporters to rent out billboards announcing how smart, svelte, and sexy they think the man is; after much deliberation, the "on the side of a freeway" requirement was scrapped.

Jim Pitts wants to have his voters show support by blinking thrice.

HR 34, governing election rules, presumably, is "in the mail" sez whitest-man-on-earth Williams. (And I thought Cornyn was pale.)

Since this entry is getting so long, we're gona kick it to a new entry upstairs. Check it out here.

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Legislature, Politics, Tom Craddick, Jim Pitts, Speaker Race

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