1/24/2011 7:37 PM
The Texas House’s new rules passed moments ago will make it impossible for any member to use the local and consent calendar to stall bills to death, as well as grant seniority to any incumbent member whose re-election is being contested.
The new House rules, HR 4 presented by House State Affairs Chairman Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), make a few changes to the committee structures. For starters, it creates the Government Efficiency and Reform Committee.
The new rules regarding the Local and Consent calendar will basically cap the amount of time lawmakers can waste time on that calendar to midnight of the day that the stalling (or “chubbing”) begins. No Democrats (or Republicans) brought amendments to this new part of the rules.
Here’s how it would work.
Say some lawmakers want to chub, for example, a bill allowing licensed concealed handguns inside university buildings on Wednesday, May 18. They can, until the stroke of midnight that night. Then, the rest of that day’s local and consent calendar goes back to the Local and Consent committee, at which point those bills get placed at the top of the next local and consent calendar.
In the meantime, the House will be allowed on Thursday, May 19, to move on to its other business, like the Major State or General State Calendars, for example – allowing the Legislature to take up and consider the concealed carry bill.
Democrats brought a handful of rules having to do with the budget and redistricting. Donna Howard (D-Austin) brought an amendment to prohibit unfunded mandates from being included in legislation on the House floor. The amendment bore similarities to Solomons’ proposed constitutional amendment to ban unfunded mandates pushed down to local governments. But Solomons opposed it on the grounds that House rules are not the appropriate place for such a prohibition. The amendment, along with most Democratic amendments, failed or were tabled with votes falling more or less along party lines.