Steer small
Mon March 9, 2009 2:44 pm

Sailors navigating rough seas are advised to "steer small,"  which means they should keep a firm hand on the wheel and not allow winds and waves to throw them off course.

 Sen. Robert Duncan, who will chair tomorrow's Committee of the Whole on Voter ID, will need to "steer small" during what promises to be a lengthy, acrimonious debate.  He told reporters today he hoped the hearing would not last longer than one day, and while he said he believes Senate rules would allow members to cut off debate, but he does not believe such a vote would be necessary.

"The goal is to fully develop the issue to allow the opportunity to make a record," he said. " The key is getting that done in the least disruptive way."

Democrats have promised a protracted hearing to allow opponents of the measure to testify against it, and there's speculation they will draw out the hearing for a week as a delay tactic. 

Although the Voter ID bill will certainly pass in the Senate -- and probably in the Texas House -- Sen. Tommy Williams pointed out that all election law changes in Texas are subject to review by the U.S. Department of Justice.  He said the proposed bill is more permissive than laws currently on the books in Indiana and Georgia, and would allow many forms of documentation of identity -- including social security check stubs, Medicare cards, and others.

Despite the grim prognosis for stopping the bill's passage, Senate Democrats are caucusing and plotting strategy -- perhaps for perfecting the "record" Duncan mentioned in anticipation of an appeal. Caucus chair Leticia Van de Putte has requested the presence of a court reporter during the Committee of the Whole.

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