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.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

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

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