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.
First, here's an update from Abby Rappaport on the House:
Dawnna Dukes just lost the most exciting battle thus far on her amendment to eliminate school closures. Dukes spoke at length about the troubles at Webb Elementary School and argued that some school districts don’t mind school closure. “That just means one less building with M&O that they don’t have to deal with in a part of town they weren’t paying attention to,” she said.
As the Texas Senate began its debate this afternoon on Florence Shapiro's bill to limit the Top Ten percent rule for university admissions, Royce West threw out some interesting numbers that call into question UT's argument that it faces a "crisis" regarding its freshman class. UT has argued that its hands are increasingly tied by the rule, which now automatically fills more than 80 percent of each incoming class.
Sen. Royce West, trying to gauge the impact of Voter ID on minorities, asks Fraser if he has spoken to any ethnic minorities about his bill.
"I don't want to get cute with you but you are an ethnic minority and I have talked to you about it," said Fraser.
West presses on: Have you talked to African Americans and Hispanics about whether they believe voter impersonation is a problem?
Dallas billionaire Robert Rowling, chairman of the UTIMCO board, today abruptly resigned while under heavy fire from members of the Senate Finance Committee about $2.3 million in bonuses paid to fund managers for the University of Texas System and Texas A&M System's endowment, which has declined 27 percent this year.
"I spend half my life on UTIMCO. You can have this job. I resign," Rowling told the committee. "We did what we thought was right."