Tick tock...
Tue March 10, 2009 1:37 pm

The Texas Senate began its session at 10 a.m., but we're still waiting to begin the hearing on Voter ID, thanks to a lot of questions by Democrats. The latest is Sen. Royce West's point of order claiming the public notice with the correct time wasn't posted on time. Now Sen. Bob Duncan,  who drew the short straw and thus is chairing the committee of the whole, has overruled Gallego's tag and West's point of order about proper public notice. Duncan is relying on rules that allow the Senate to "dissolve itself" into a Committee of the Whole at any time.

Gallegos appeals the ruling of the chair, which calls for another huddle at the podium. Gallegos argues that Senate rules are applicable on major legislation.

Tommy Williams:  "Read the rules about the committee of the Whole. I very carefully looked at rules of the Committee of the Whole to see how it worked. It's clear to me...a ruling over than what the chair has made would put the body in conflict with itself. The purprose (of the Committee of the Whole) is to allow the body to dissolve itself into that committee and consider important matters."

The argument is veering off into metaphysical issues I didn't expect.

Outside the chamber, the committee clerks signing in witnesses says "several hundred" people have indicated they wish to testify. At three minutes each...it's gonna be a long day.

Lest anyone think nothing's been accomplished today, Sen. Steve Ogden reports that the Finance Committee met early and approved approximately a 10 percent pay raise for prison guards.  He also says the committee fully funded requests from all regulatory agencies -- Department of Insurance, Banking Commission, State Securities Board, etc. in a "direction reaction to the regulatory meltdown we've seen in D.C."

"Traditionally, we've been very parsimonious. The committee feels this is not the time to strangle the regulatory agencies," Ogden said. He also said state banking examiners, in particular, needed more money this session because "the FDIC is stealing all our guys."

I'm glad there's one sector of the economy with job security.

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