Tamme, May 5, 2003 in OFFTOPIC
Damnit what happened to the original topic
its 11 pages now and i think i lostthe initial argument due to me long absence
</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Akira @ 12 May 2003,23:41)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">The Democrats of the state legislature have staged a "walkout" here in Austin. This may not seem like a big deal, but in Texas a "qourum" is needed in order for the House to conduct business, meaning at least 100 members have to be present in the House. There are 150 members in the Texas House. 53 Democrats walked out. Or "fled" if you believe some accounts.
Apparently, the Republicans, having a majority for the first time in ages here in Texas, decided that they wanted to try and force through a Congressional redistricting plan that would benefit (any guess?)...yes thats right...state Republicans. Standard politics.<span id='postcolor'>
I still fail to see how using totally non-legal means to completely shutdown the Texas legislature for an unspecified amount of time is conducive or beneficial for the legislative and democratic process. In fact, it could be said that it thwarts the entire process.
Here is the section regarding the quorum in the Texas constitution:
Article 3, Section 10, says:
</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">Two-thirds of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.<span id='postcolor'>
Thus, it is clearly against the law what they are doing.
This has happened in the past though. Â When the 14th Amendment was up for ratification in Tennessee after the Civil War, the same thing happened -- a bunch of legislators absented themselves to avoid a quorum. The Sergeant-at-Arms hired Pinkertons, chased them down and brought them back. They were then marked "present" and locked in a closet until the voting was over. Tennessee became the first state of the old Confederacy to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.
Yes it is clearly against the law. Or rather against the rules of the house, that is why DPS was sent after them. But as you said this is nothing new. A group of liberal Democrats did the same thing in the '70s. Except they hid out in an Austin garage.
In one way this is a completely valid response to Republican bullying. Think of it as a "fillibuster en absentia". The Republican's attempted to fully push their agenda down the Dem's throats, thus in essence pre-empting the democratic process first. Apparently they didn't think the Dem's had the guts to do anything about it. They were wrong. Democracy is about compromise and meeting a middle ground that is best for all constituants. With this redistricting plan that isn't what is happening. They are rolling over the Dem's and minorties, padding districts to win GOP seats.
Word is they will come back on Friday after redistricting is dead. The thing is they can easily "suspend the rules" and take it up again. In which case it would be interesting to see if the Dem's walkout again, or we get a situation like in Tennessee. The Dem's can of course refuse to unlock their voting machines until they get some PUBLIC reassurances.
On another note, constituants of the Dem's have been driving to Oklahoma to give their support.
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