Saturday, May 30, 2009

HB 300 TxDOT Sunset Bill--filibustered?

Patricia Kilday Hart reports on the burkablog

that Sen. Carona is considering filibustering HB 300, the TxDOT Sunset Bill, because earlier today the House-Senate conference committee stripped out of it Carona's local option transportation tax. Hart says the final committee report "was not shown to Transportation Chair Carona or Vice-Chair Kirk Watson, but signed and filed by Senate conferees Glenn Hegar, Chuy Hinojosa and Robert Nichols." How does this happen? Did the rest of the committee just wait until the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee were both out of the room at the same time, sign the thing real quick, and then take off at a run to file it? I'm having trouble picturing this.

In addition to Hegar, Hinojosa, and Nichols signing for the Senate, Linda Harper-Brown, Joe Pickett (Chair of the House Transportation Committee), Wayne Smith, and Carl Isett (author of HB 300), signed for the House. The only House conferee not to sign was Ruth Jones McClendon.

Previously, Carona has said he will not accept the TxDOT Sunset Bill if it does not contain his local option plan. From this point, the signed bill without his local option plan will be printed and distributed to the Senate and the House to be voted on by all members. It is not clear how soon the 1,000-plus-page bill call be printed and distributed, so it is uncertain when the votes in both houses will occur. It has to be before the session ends on Monday, June 1. Is it feasible for a Carona filibuster to prevent a Senate vote and thus kill HB 300? If this happens, TxDOT will have to be continued for two years by the "safety net" bill and its Sunset process taken up by the next session

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