Some people carry a chip on their shoulder. Yvonne Davis carries the whole tree. So frequently does her participation in debate turn sour that the Capitol crowd refers to her as Whyvonne, as in, “Why is she acting like this?” Never was that question on more lips than in the final minutes of the final calendar of the session, when Davis engaged in a serial killing of five harmless, innocent, otherwise uncontested bills.
It’s not hard to figure out why Davis was mad this session. The Republicans had taken over the House, she had lost her committee chairmanship, and her legislative program was destined for oblivion. A lot of her fellow Democrats were in the same situation, but only Davis had a public temper tantrum over it. When a bill she favored died in a Senate committee, she sought vengeance against the chairman’s bills awaiting passage in the House, even though they were on a special calendar for noncontroversial local and consent bills. House rules, however, allow any member to defeat such a bill by talking about it for ten minutes. And Davis had a lot to say: All the grudges she had been nursing for the session spilled out.
One bill authorized municipal development districts to create jobs. “Are there other ideas in the state that might provide jobs?” Davis asked. “I think you had some,” acknowledged the House sponsor. “‘Had’ is the operative word,” Davis shot back. “This isn’t a session where any of that matters, apparently.” Senate Bill 1903, R.I.P. Next came a proposal for a bioscience economic development district in Temple. Davis fired away: “Do you know my district needs jobs as well? Do you think your bill is the only one that will help with the tax base? Do you know how many bills we passed on this floor that directly impact my district in a negative manner? Do you know how many children are not going to get health care because of the bills we passed on this floor?” Senate Bill 1944, R.I.P.
This is just plain old legislative terrorism—blowing up something not for any justifiable reason, but because the world isn’t the way you want it to be, and if you can’t have what you want, the next best thing is keeping somebody else from having what he wants. Why ask why?