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Texas Democrats Bolt Again
Houston Chronicle ^ | July 28, 2003 | Clay Robison

Posted on 07/28/2003 1:21:03 PM PDT by wkcoop

July 28, 2003, 3:08PM

Texas Democrats bolt again By CLAY ROBISON Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN -- An unknown number of Democratic state senators abruptly left the state Capitol this afternoon after learning that Gov. Rick Perry planned to immediately call a second special session on congressional redistricting.

One Democratic senator who asked not to be named, told the Chronicle in a phone interview that senators were apparently on their way out of town.

"I have no idea where we're going. I just know in a little bit we will be out of pocket," the senator said.

He would not say how many senators had left but called it an "adequate" number to break a quorum and keep the Senate from conducting business.

The Senate requires two-thirds, or 21 senators, to be present to conduct business, meaning the absence of 11 senators could break a quorum. There are 12 Democrats in the Senate.

The senator said the action was precipitated by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's decision to bypass a traditional Senate rule that requires a two-thirds vote to debate any bill.

That rule, which has been in effect during the current special session, has so far blocked redistricting in the Senate.

The senator said the Democrats fled because they feared Perry would immediately call a second special session and Dewhurst would lock down the Senate chambers and prevent members from leaving.

The first session was to end by midnight Tuesday, but the Senate adjourned at 2:30 p.m. and the House was expected to adjourn minutes later.

Dewhurst earlier had told reporters Perry was expected to call a second special session minutes after both houses adjourned.

Of the 12 Democratic senators, the only one to show up for a 2 p.m. session today was Ken Armbrister of Victoria.

In May, more than 50 representatives hid out for several days to block action on congressional redistricting, forcing the governor to call a special session.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: New Mexico; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: awol; democrats; quorum; redistricting; texas
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To: MissAmericanPie
The Demoncrats have gerrimandered districts for decades.

For over a century. We have not had a Republican state legislature. This is why the Rats are angry/scared.

21 posted on 07/28/2003 1:39:00 PM PDT by weegee
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To: Frank_Discussion
An "UPP"?


I'm grinding my teeth so hard, my jaw hurts. I had no idea I could do that while awake.
22 posted on 07/28/2003 1:39:28 PM PDT by Xenalyte (I may not agree with your bumper sticker, but I'll defend to the death your right to stick it)
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To: Bullish
Seems like they are not doing what they have been paid to do. How about Fraud charges?
23 posted on 07/28/2003 1:39:54 PM PDT by BSunday
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To: anniegetyourgun

24 posted on 07/28/2003 1:41:01 PM PDT by weegee
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To: BSunday
How about a recall...
25 posted on 07/28/2003 1:41:53 PM PDT by weegee
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To: weegee
26 posted on 07/28/2003 1:43:00 PM PDT by anniegetyourgun
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To: wkcoop
Damm these jackasses - I am sick of these puds.

Bend over and take it dims.

You sick losers.
27 posted on 07/28/2003 1:43:36 PM PDT by lodwick
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To: Frank_Discussion


28 posted on 07/28/2003 1:47:11 PM PDT by mattdono
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To: Bullish
Actually, I like that one better. (I guess that is what I get for replying from the "My Comments" page)
29 posted on 07/28/2003 1:47:47 PM PDT by mattdono
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To: wkcoop
There's gotta be a creative way of dealing with these cowards. They want to stand just across the state line and thumb their noses? Fine... move the road signs so they just *think* they've left Texas...
30 posted on 07/28/2003 1:48:02 PM PDT by Charles Martel
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To: wkcoop
Democrats in the Texas legislature are like cockroaches in the kitchen, they flee when you turn the lights on. The only difference is that cockroaches look better, and are slightly smarter.

Did I miss anything?

Congressman Billybob

Latest article, now up FR, "Sixteen Little Words."

31 posted on 07/28/2003 1:48:47 PM PDT by Congressman Billybob ("Don't just stand there. Run for Congress."
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To: mattdono
Yeah, baby! And up the river, I say. To the Big House.
32 posted on 07/28/2003 1:49:31 PM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: Xenalyte
Now, now, don't hurt yo-self.
33 posted on 07/28/2003 1:50:45 PM PDT by Frank_Discussion (May the wings of Liberty never lose a feather!)
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To: wkcoop
Found in a search:

Dewhurst said once a second session begins, he will not allow the use of a "blocker" bill -- a long-standing Senate practice that empowers the chamber's minority by requiring a two-thirds vote to open debate.

A blocker is an insignificant bill placed at the top of the Senate agenda. Because rules require that bills be considered in agenda order, debate on legislation behind the blocker bill requires a two-thirds vote to suspend rules.

That means 11 of the 31 members can block debate on a bill if all are in attendance. At present, 11 Democrats and one Republican in the Senate have pledged to vote against debate.

If, in a second special session, Dewhurst placed redistricting first on the agenda without a blocking bill, a simple majority could bring it to the floor for debate.

Dewhurst said he has precedent for that. He noted that then-Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock did not use a blocker bill when the Senate debated redistricting in a 1992 special legislative session.

"I feel obliged to follow the Bullock precedent and put redistricting first," Dewhurst said.

The 1992 special session was intended to set aside a state Senate redistricting plan ordered by a Republican federal court. Democrats pushed through a plan on a partisan 18-12 vote, with three Democrats joining the Republican minority.

Republican senators did not publicly object to the Senate procedures during that special session, which occurred in the middle of candidate filing for the primaries.

The federal court rejected the Senate's map and ordered its own map used for the election. That map gave Republicans four additional state Senate seats.

Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby also tried to avoid a blocker bill in the 1979 regular session to pass legislation creating a presidential primary favorable to the Republican presidential bid of former Gov. John Connally. Twelve Democrats, who became known as the Killer Bees, broke the Senate quorum to kill the bill.

Dewhurst noted that when Hobby threatened to remove the blocker bill in a 1989 special session on workers' compensation insurance, he broke a deadlock and launched negotiations that resulted in passage of a bill.

He said he hopes the same thing occurs this year on congressional redistricting.

"We're engaged in conversation. We have a great tradition of working together in the Senate," Dewhurst said.

He said he also feels confident that the Democrats will not walk out on a second special session.

"We're not going down that road," Dewhurst said. "I expect all of our Democrat senators will work together and we won't be facing the lack of a quorum."

One potential face-saving option for the opponents would be to vote "present and not voting" on the question of bringing a redistricting bill to the floor for debate in this special session. That would allow the Senate majority to pass the bill and avoid a second special session, while the opposition would not have a record of voting for it.

"No decisions have been made at the caucus level," Van de Putte said.

Dewhurst said all he wants is a "fair" redistricting plan. He said that would result in Republicans holding 19 or 20 of the state's congressional seats, "plus Ralph Hall."

Hall, D-Rockwall, frequently votes for President Bush's Republican agenda.

Democrats now hold a 17-15 majority in the state's congressional delegation. Republicans argue that because they hold all the state elective offices and a majority in the Legislature, they also should have a congressional delegation majority.

A map passed by the state House probably would give the GOP 21 seats in the U.S. House. A proposed Senate plan could give the GOP as many as 22 U.S. House seats.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, offered the Senate Jurisprudence Committee another option Friday.

It likely would defeat as many as five incumbent Democratic congressmen, but it would guarantee only 16 Republican and 13 Democratic seats, while three districts would be Republican-leaning but competitive.

"We shouldn't have a map that has 22 Republican districts to only 10 Democratic districts, because this state is not a 70 percent Republican state. It's about 55 to 60 (percent Republican)," Wentworth said.

Dewhurst warns Dems: cooperate or face defeat

34 posted on 07/28/2003 1:52:47 PM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: wkcoop
Bounty hunters.

Nothing could be more Texan.
35 posted on 07/28/2003 1:54:16 PM PDT by Yudan (The relentless pursuit of....somethin'.)
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To: Xenalyte
Unspeakable p*ssies ping.

Oh no, you can speak about it. They're definitely p*ssies.

36 posted on 07/28/2003 1:55:06 PM PDT by Bacon Man (Bacon is never wrong but occasionally fried.)
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To: mattdono
(re Impeachment)

The trick to that is overcoming the very obstacle we're already facing: the 2/3 quorum rule.

Although it is true that the TX Senate, which tries impeachees, only needs a 2/3 OF THOSE PRESENT to convict, I don't see any exception to the 2/3 quorum rule for impeachment trials. So we couldn't get a quorum in the first place if the Dems bolt. (I'm assuming that the TX House can must the 2/3 votes but that the TX Senate can't.)
37 posted on 07/28/2003 1:56:23 PM PDT by pogo101
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To: mattdono
One radical response to bolting is this:
1) Call special session of Senate.
2) Dems bolt
3) TX House IMPEACHES some of bolting Dems
4) Upon such impeachment, those Dems are automatically suspended from their Senate seats, and the Gov. may appoint provisional replacement Senators. (TX Const., Art. 15, sec. 5.)

What say?
38 posted on 07/28/2003 1:57:02 PM PDT by pogo101
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To: wkcoop
Where are the polls on the Democrats walking? Where are the polls about redistricting?

The Dems have been telegraphing this move for weeks, Perry knew to expect it, and look at how the Senate adjourned early today. That tells me that the GOP thinks the Dems are hurting themselves by walking out.

I expect this game will be played up to the SS on school finance in the fall(right before the Houston elections), and then the topics lumped into the same SS. Then the Dems will be faced with preventing popular reforms that would impact nearly every property owner's wallet if they continue to not show up.

And there is plenty of time for shenanigans in the meantime...
39 posted on 07/28/2003 2:10:19 PM PDT by Diddle E. Squat
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To: Yudan
Bounty hunters.

Nothing could be more Texan.

And nothing could be more UN-Texan than scurrying away from a fight.

Are we going to be subject to pictures of all those idiots celebrating again?

40 posted on 07/28/2003 2:10:38 PM PDT by Allegra ( No tagline to see here...move along...move along...)
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