House Grinds to Halt

Will quorate rules scupper GOP agenda?

House Grinds to Halt

The Sam Houston Elementary School Council is in the capitol today. "I guess they could not have come on a more exciting day," Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-San Benito, just told the Texas House of Representatives. Their shout-out may be the closest to real action today, as the House may fall short of quorum, putting the kaibosh on the GOP agenda again.

The big picture here is that the Republican caucus is struggling to get Gov. Rick Perry's emergency items through the House. After slowing the session down to get voter ID and the abortion sonogram bills passed then – and this is the real point – never getting back up to speed, now they have a big back log. Now Perry has dumped his toxic "loser pays" bill on the pile as another emergency item, the ticking of the clock has become a time bomb.

So Democrats are playing an interesting card today: With so many members absent for Mother's Day anyway, they are quietly withdrawing members from the floor. In the last thirty minutes, the Democrats have added Marc Veasey of Fort Worth, Eric Johnson of Dallas, Chente Quintanilla of El Paso, and Ruth Jones McClendon of San Antonio to the list of reps they wanted listed as excused for their absence. The GOP is starting to refuse these absences. What has to be noted is that it will be GOP's fault if they are not quorate. With only 49 Democrats in the House, that means they need at least one GOPer off the floor to miss the magic 100 target.

As of the latest vote, the House is down to 106 people on the floor, and the remaining Democrats are trying to slap down bills with points of order. Now Speaker Joe Straus has pulled an increasingly empty floor into a five minute recess.

You can watch the House via the live feed or, if you're in Austin, on Channel 6, the city of Austin channel.

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