UI Changes Change and Change Again

House wrangling over unemployment insurance compliance bill get verified

Legler (l) and Strama: Trust us, by this session's standards, this is high drama
Legler (l) and Strama: Trust us, by this session's standards, this is high drama

"I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process." – Vincent van Gogh

The unemployment insurance compliance terms in Senate Bill 1569 are on the House floor today, and unsurprisingly causing controversy and parliamentary maneuvering. Rep. Ken Legler, R-Pasadena, had an amendment that would require unemployment benefit applicants to take a drug test: Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, had an amendment to the amendment that would instead propose an interim study.

Legler opposed it, so there was a vote, and the Strama amendment to the amendment was adopted 73-71.

Ah, but Legler wasn't done.

There was a call for a verification vote, but with everyone shuffling around, it was tied 71-71 and so failed (in spite of calls for the speaker to vote.)

But Strama wasn't done. He called for the second vote – the failing vote – to be verified, and this time it passed 74-67, and then the amended amendment passed.

In a cherry-on-top-moment, as the debate slogged on, the bill was postponed to 5pm, allowing half the chamber to disappear to committee meetings. Of course, this could all become redundant because odds are that Gov. Rick Perry will veto, meaning Texas would remain out of compliance with the federal requirements, and therefore he doesn't have to take that $555 million in fed stimulus UI that he's never wanted to take in the first place.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More 81st Legislature
The Senate Shuffle
The Senate Shuffle
Lt. Gov. Dewhurst makes surprise committee switches

Richard Whittaker, July 14, 2010

The Four Horsemen of the Deficit
The Four Horsemen of the Deficit
Examining the new House committees on state spending

Richard Whittaker, Jan. 13, 2010

More Texas House of Representatives
Dawnna Dukes' Charges Dropped
Dawnna Dukes' Charges Dropped
13 felonies gone, two misdemeanors resolved

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 24, 2017

Houston Voters Say No to
Houston Voters Say No to "Robin Hood"
HISD rejects making school finance payments

Richard Whittaker, Nov. 15, 2016

More by Richard Whittaker
Infinite Possibilities in <i>Eno</i>, the Generative Documentary
Infinite Possibilities in Eno, the Generative Documentary
Director Gary Hustwit lets his biography of Brian Eno make itself

July 17, 2024

How Nicole Riegel Got in Tune With <i>Dandelion</i>
How Nicole Riegel Got in Tune With Dandelion
Filmmaker on working with the National, Ted Leo's worst gig

July 12, 2024


81st Legislature, Texas House of Representatives, Mark Strama, Ken Legler, Unemployment Insurance

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle