Williams claims precedent for rules change
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Sen. Tommy Williams assures the Senate that he believes the two-thirds rule “is a good thing. I have been a House member who lost his entire package in Calendars Committee. It would be a travesty if we went to that method.” Then he recounted the “ugly scene” that occurred last session when senators scrambled to vote on the Voter ID bill while Sen. Carlos Uresti was out sick. “I don’t want to resort to tricks or sleights of hands to get this issue before us,” Williams said. “My goal was to make sure that every member of the body is empowered to have their point of view expressed on this very important issue,” Williams said. The plan allows the Senate to vote on Voter ID in a Committee of the Whole — meaning it can pass on a simple majority. Williams said he’s reviewed “50 years of history” which has “literally hundreds of instances where this body has chosen to ignore or go around rules to bring legislation to the floor.” Whitmire says he doubts that “your version of history would be supported by the persons involved” and suggests a public hearing should be held. Also, Williams clarifies Dewhurst’s position: “This was not something driven by leadership. Quite the contrary.” Dewhurst also jumps in: “(Williams) came by to advise me one day last week” that he intended to press the issue. He reminded Whitmire that he has not talked to Republican lawmakers about Voter ID.