Monday, May 28, 2007

Craddick opponents walk out - Lack of quorum shuts down business after budget passes.

By Laylan Copelin, Jason Embry - AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF -
Monday, May 28, 2007

Dozens of lawmakers shut down the Texas House shortly after midnight by walking out after a member tried to take a roll call vote on Speaker Tom Craddick's leadership.

Rep. Pat Haggerty, R-El Paso, stunned the House leadership when, during a personal privilege speech, he began taking a roll call vote on Craddick's leadership. Meanwhile, the Midland Republican sat on the podium.

As Haggerty called out the members' names, he asked them to shout out "aye" or "no." Many of Craddick's supporters stood and objected when their names were called.

When Speaker Pro Tem Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, who had been presiding, finally stopped the roll call, Haggerty urged the members to leave the chamber.

As the rebel House members streamed out of the chamber, led by Haggerty, a crowd that had been watching in the gallery quickly poured into the hallways and began cheering. Shouts echoed through the Capitol: "Go! Go! Go! Out! Out! Out!"

Inside the chamber, Turner called for a vote. With only 94 votes registered — many suspect because members who left were shown present — there was no longer a quorum. Turner adjourned the House until 2 p.m. today.

The 140-day session ends at midnight, and more than 30 bills are pending on the House calendar. It will take a two-thirds vote of members present to consider any legislation. Among bills in danger are ones dealing with water, child protective services, border security and parks.
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