Coleman withdrew his big CHIP amendment, which was to take $120 million from “Trusteed Programs, Office of the Governor”–the Texas Enterprise Fund–and $100 million from the Emerging Technology Fund–and increase the appropriation for CHIP by $110 million each year. The speaker’s ruling that the Enterprise Fund could not be transferred effectively killed his amendment.
Two comments about this: First, there was a wonderful typo in Coleman’s amendment. The money would come from “trusted” programs, office of the governor. I didn’t think that the Legislature thought there were any. The other, more serious point is that Coleman’s amendment would have put the CHIP issue before the House before Sylvester Turner’s CHIP bill, which Coleman thinks doesn’t do enough (“half a loaf,” he told me)
…interlude: Coleman was talking about another amendment, a Medicaid reform rider, and Gattis asked him to yield. Coleman refused, wanting to continue his explanation. Gattis said, “I think it’s acceptable.” Coleman was stunned. But he was smart enough to stop talking.
To return to the CHIP amendment ….
….Nope, not yet. Dunnam just raised a point of order against a John Davis amendment prohibiting HHSC from requiring the HPV immunization as a condition for admission to school. Dunnam says it changes general law. And I think he ought to win, since the commission has the authority to require vaccines, and you can’t take away that authority in a rider. Nope, it was overruled.
Back to CHIP: An air of mystery surrounds what has happed to Turner’s CHIP bill. It was shunted from the fast track to the slow track. One theory is that Craddick doesn’t want to pass Turner’s bill if Democrats aren’t going to support it because it doesn’t do enough, and what the Democrats will do will probably be determined by Coleman. If Coleman mounted a major fight for full funding for CHIP, and Democrats voted with him and against the leadership, it would put Turner in a difficult position. So the ultimate prospects for the passage of Turner’s bill were enhanced by Coleman’s inability to shift money from the Enterprise Fund.