Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Poor Men Nameth

Rep. Sylvester Turner (D- Houston) wasn't joking when he said he would have admission certificates for his newly recruited 'poor man's caucus.' Today, shortly after House members adopted his amendment (98 to 39), earning them their 'poor man's caucus' status, Turner's staffers began drafting letters for those both accepted and denied. The acceptance letters offer gratitude and congratulations, while the denial letters offer another chance of acceptance in January 2007, at the beginning of the 80th Legislative Session.

The term 'poor man's caucus' was derived several weeks ago to describe the representatives (mostly Republican) who were opposing Turner's amendment to HB 3540 (a fiscal matters bill), which would have allowed internet lottery, on the basis that it would take advantage of the poor. While supporters of his amendment were interested in the additional revenue it would accumulate for the state (much needed for school finance, health care, etc), the opposition claimed it was simply bad for the poor (since every low-income Texan has a computer with internet access readily at hand). Upon hearing the opposition's concern for the poor, Rep. Turner jokingly raved about their shared concern, naming this group 'the poor man's caucus.'

It's good to know some light-heartedness surfaces during the slew of lengthy and serious debate.