April 27, 2007
What could prove to be a key turn in the fight over whether voters should be required to show more identification came and went quietly earlier this week in the Senate.Senate Democrats are believed to have the votes to prevent consideration of the voter ID bill, which the House has passed. Now those Democrats and their staffs are looking for any possible vehicle that Republicans might use to keep the bill alive.On Tuesday the Senate considered Senate Bill 1464, a proposal by Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, that says if someone is excused from jury duty because of a lack of citizenship or because they do not live in the right county, they cannot vote in that county.Before a vote on Janek’s bill, Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, had a few questions for Sen. John Carona, who was presiding over the Senate in place of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Actually, the questions were really for Senate Parliamentarian Karina Casari Davis, who was advising Carona just as she does whoever is the presiding officer.Watson asked whether the voter ID bill would be a proper amendment to attach to Janek’s bill. Carona, based on the parliamentarian’s counsel, said no, that such an amendment would be subject to a point of order. Watson asked if the House attached the voter ID language to Janek’s bill, would it be subject to a point of order and have to return to the House. Carona said yes. Essentially, Watson’s questioning established that the voter ID language is not germane to Janek’s bill.Don’t be surprised to see similar questions about other Senate legislation related to voting.