I was sitting in the Senate gallery yesterday, listening to the debate over the sonogram bill, when Dan Patrick said something that got my attention. He said that he had asked Speaker Straus to recommend someone to carry the sonogram bill, and Straus had recommended Geanie Morrison. He repeated this during the course of the debate, two, maybe three times.
This didn’t ring true to me. At the Republican state convention, Morrison had worked with former RPT vice-president David Barton to undermine Straus. During the speaker’s race, Morrison had been aligned with the Paxton forces. Why would Straus suggest an adversary to carry the bill–especially after Sid Miller, a Straus ally, had stepped forward to put his name on a new sonogram bill with a low (that is, priority) bill number? For that matter, why would Straus get involved in telling any senator whom to choose as the bill’s House sponsor? That decision belongs to House members. It would have been out of character for Straus, who is a hands-off speaker.
Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought that Patrick’s comment was strange, because e-mails from members started coming into the speaker’s office. After talking to various sources in the House–not including Straus–here is what I think really happened. Sometime last year Patrick went to Straus and told him he would be carrying THE sonogram bill and Geanie Morrison would be the House sponsor. The most likely scenario is that Patrick didn’t ask Straus to recommend a sponsor; he told him who it was going to be. I can’t explain why Patrick repeated the story about Straus suggesting Geanie Morrison as a sponsor during the debate, unless he did it to put pressure on Straus to let Morrison carry the bill. I don’t think it’s going to work.