Senate Bill 19 was described by sponsor Van Taylor during a floor debate today as “generational” ethics reform, but when an amendment was offered to bar employment and co-investing between legislators, Senator John Whitmire erupted with accusations that Taylor and Don Huffines were trying to turn the legislation into unethical political payback.
The lofty title Dean of the Texas State Senate is bestowed each session on the senator with the longest tenure and carries with it the unspoken responsibility of protecting the chamber’s dignity and traditions. As with English kings, however, the line of succession does not always produce someone suited to the job. Carlos Traun, the previous occupant of the post, was the George III of deans, and when the mantle fell upon John Whitmire this year, the first thing that came to naysayers’ minds was his nickname: Boogie.
There was gavel-banging. There were senators talking over each other. There was, repeatedly, use of a telling phrase: “I’m not trying to get personal.” On Thursday afternoon there was, in other words, a good ol’ fashioned parliamentary fight on the Senate floor.
A genuinely sweet moment — a relative rarity in the legislative process — took place in the Senate Criminal Justice committee hearing Tuesday afternoon after exonerated inmate Michael Morton wrapped up his testimony to the panel of senators.
I have never pretended to be knowledgeable about the Houston mayor’s race, other than to pass along information that I have received from local sources, but I don’t get why Annise Parker has decided to go negative against runoff opponent Gene Locke. Her line is “Come Clean Gene” regarding his purported conflicts of interest with city business as a lawyer at Andrew Kurth, and she wants him to release his tax returns. Locke has already said that he would leave the firm if he is elected mayor.
Sen. John Whitmire preserved the right of Texans to drive boats and jet skis without the burden of completing driver safety courses by shooting down a bill by Sen. Jeff Wentworth mandating the new requirement.