Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Capitol Update

It took a full day of legislating but house bills 1 through 4 are now ready for the Senate. It appears the legislature is going to just change the tax code and let the education system stay the way it is.

According to Quorum Report the final piece in the Republican plan hit a snag:
The final piece of the Perry-Sharp plan, the cigarette tax increase, hit a temporary roadblock late Monday when Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) said that the bonding authority created in committee was not germane to the original bill.

Speaker Tom Craddick sustained the point of order and sent the bill back to committee. Shortly after midnight, House Ways & Means met and unanimously passed it out of committee again. The bill will be considered again by the House on Thursday.
QR also points out that the vote on HB 3 was close. Originally the vote was suppose to happen early Monday morning, but after a few head counts, Craddick pushed the vote back until 1 p.m., and after 33 amendments HB 3 eventually passed.
In post-recess comments, Craddick confirmed that support for HB 3, the revamped business tax, had slipped to 60 votes by Monday morning. It took a concerted effort by the leadership to get the total back up to 80 votes, he said.
The procedure now is for the Senate to consider the bills, vote to accept, and if there are changes the bills will have to go through a committee to resolve those changes. After that happens, everyone goes home and tries to win re-election without fixing schools.

On a side note, Rep and blogger Aaron Pena did a great job and huge service keeping people in the loop with what was going on. If only we had a few open government laws to help out too!


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