Shapleigh: 'Craddick-style' rule about to be imposed upon the Texas Senate
by Ben Wright
Posted on January 14, 2009
The Craddick style of heavy-handed partisan governance has moved from the House to the Senate, said El Paso state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh after he emerged from a meeting with other Senate Democrats at about 11 a.m. (MST) this morning.
"What is about to happen is a historic change to Senate rules. A rule that has been in place since 1956 to protect minorities is about to be changed," said Shapleigh, referring to the so-called "two thirds rule."
Currently, 21 out of 31 senators must approve debate on legislative proposals in order for it to be discussed and voted upon. As such, a minority of 11 members can paralyze efforts to pass legislation. Editor's note: The previous sentence initially incorrectly put the number at 10. It was corrected at 2 p.m. Jan. 14., 2008. Procedural rules can be changed by a simple majority of Senators at the beginning of a legislative session. The chamber is currently split 19-12, in the GOP's favor.
Shapleigh said he believes this to be a partisan ploy to steamroller through right-wing legislation on Voter ID and re-redistricting (which will be up for discussion in 2011).
"Tom Craddick has moved from the House to the Senate. This divisive ugly politics - win at all cost politics, change the rules to win -it's about to occur here too," said Shapleigh.
Craddick is the former House Speaker, who was replaced for this session by San Antonio Republican state Rep. Joe Straus after a group of moderate Republicans and the majority of Democrats rebelled.
The Senate is convening now.
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