Legislative Games?

Could someone author, co-author, sponsor or co-sponsor legislation only to try to kill it quietly? That’s the claim made on the House floor today by a senior Democratic lawmaker.

During debate on the House Rules, State Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) introduced an amendment that would force legislation with 76 or more supporters to be placed on the House Calendar for action.

Theoretically, a bill with 76 supporters would pass the chamber if brought to a vote because it takes 76 votes to pass legislation.


Joe Pickett
Mr. Zedler’s amendment was vociferously opposed by State Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), an ally of Speaker Joe Straus and sometimes-committee chair.

Mr. Pickett said that — when serving as a committee chair — he had members who sponsored or cosponsored legislation come to him and ask him not to hold hearings on that very bill. Why would they do such a thing?

According to Mr. Pickett, they signed on as a supporter of legislation “so they can get a good rating on scorecards and blogs” but don’t really want the initiative to move.

There have long been stories about lawmakers – Republican and Democrat alike – doing just that, but not until now has a legislator claimed in public that it actually happens.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael is president and CEO of Empower Texans, and its premier project, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. A graduate of Texas A&M, former newspaper reporter, one-time Capital Hill staffer, think tank vice president and an Eagle Scout, Sullivan is married with three children. He divides his time between the Metroplex, the rest of Texas, and Austin.

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