May 14, 2007
In the past couple of weeks, lawmakers started getting desperate, and ironically, a fight broke out Tuesday because of unfair voting practices in the Senate over a bill dealing with voter fraud. Republicans used veteran Sen. John Whitmire’s bathroom break to bring up a voter bill that would require Texans show a photo ID at the polls. The 11 Democratic senators have vowed to block the bill, and all 11 are needed on the floor in order to do that.”If you have 11 to block, the only thing you can do to get your bill passed is to look for an opportunity when they’re one short, and that’s what happened today,” said Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston.”It ought to be a legitimate, valid debate,” said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin. “Using parliamentary tricks is not legitimate, and it’s not valid. It’s sad.”Sen. Gallegos, who’s had liver problems, turned the Senate lounge into his hospital room, so he’d be there for a vote. Sen. Uresti, home with the flu, said he bolted to the Capitol the minute he heard the bill was up for debate.”I was getting dressed in probably three minutes, no matching socks and literally was running up the stairs behind the Senate floor two steps at a time, as I could hear the role call,” Uresti said.After cussing, yelling and outright political grandstanding, the Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst relented and put the bill aside, for now.With 20 yeas and 11 nays, the motion to suspend failed.Democrats said they will be there every day until the session is over. Meanwhile, the House is heated up, as well.Representatives were not happy with House Speaker Tom Craddick’s leadership Tuesday. Rep. James Keffer announced he was going to run for speaker next session and encouraged Craddick to give up the post he’s had for three terms. Craddick, who was seen in private conversations with representatives, said he would fight for a fourth term.