Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Redefining House Rules The Craddick Way

HB 1212 on parental consent was introduced to the House floor just before 8pm last night. Rep. King (author of the bill) was comparing tattoos to abortions when a Point of Order was called on the bill. Apparently, Rep. Guillen was mistakenly listed as a joint author on the committee report, violating Rule 8 Section 5 C of the House Rules that says joint authors shall be shown on all official printings of the measure.

Rep. Dunnam requested that since the House State Affairs Committee report was wrong, HB 1212 should be sent back to the committee to correct it, in accordance with standard practice. According to Jerry Philips, Rep. Dunnam’s Chief of Staff, on Points of Order the House should follow congressional precedent that would recommit the bill to the reporting committee. (Rule 14 Section 1 says when there is no rule in the House, it must follow congressional record).

But Monday was the last day to report House bills out of committee. Since the deadline had passed, sending the bill back to committee would have killed HB 1212.

Craddick was quick to correct Rep. Dunnam claiming that the House State Affairs Committee did not make the mistake, but instead someone in the clerk’s office punched the wrong button. The following debate ensued:

Dunnam: “Is the chair aware of any precedent when a bill has been sent back to the clerk’s office as opposed to going back to Calendars or to the full standing committee?”

Craddick: “Mr. Dunham, we have not found that, but the policy practice has been to send it back to the place where the mistake was made.”

Dunnam: “Throughout session, we have heard that the House practice has been this or that. If there is no precedent, how can that be the practice?”

Craddick: “Mr. Dunham you just saw precedent made just now.”

So, HB 1212 will be reprinted and distributed by the Committee clerk, and resent to Calendars. It has been set to return to the House floor this Thursday. Unfortunately, this will likely kill several other bills waiting to be set in Calendars. Another AutoCraddick moment!