Anarchy in the Senate

Two-thirds fight continues

Sen. Elliot Shapleigh, D-Monkeywrench
Sen. Elliot Shapleigh, D-Monkeywrench (photo by Lee Nichols)

The latest in the fight over the adoption of rules for the Senate: First off, see the posts below about the fight over the two-thirds rule and voter ID if you're not up to speed.

After the Democrats unsuccessfully tried to amend SR 14 to death, Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, raised a point of order that has shut things down for a while. He claimed that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's many rulings on various amendments and points of order today are moot, because his power to make such rulings was granted by the rules of the 80th Legislature. Since this is the 81st Lege – for which no rules have been made yet – Shapleigh says Dewhurst does not have the power to make the rulings, and the past four hours – as well as the swearing in of the senators and senate staff yesterday – have been for naught.

And that's the circular argument that has everyone vexed today: How do you have a debate to create the rules, when no rules have been created to govern the debate?

At that, Dewhurst and his parliamentarian had the equivalent of a computer logic error and crashed. We are currently in a 15-minute recess to sort it out.

I just heard Mario Gallegos, D-Houston, joking that he's been "voting illegally."

UPDATE: Oh, this sucks: City Council Member Mike Martinez's big campaign kick-off is set to begin in one hour (5:30pm) at Nuevo Leon. But his wife, Lara Wendler, is an aide to Sen. John Whitmire of Houston. And she's still stuck here. Oops.

UPDATE2: The came back, and then recessed again when Whitmire asked for a "caucus of the whole" (all the Senators), so they're off to the back room again. Dammit, I wanted to go to the Martinez event too.

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