Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Texas State Rep Scott Hochberg Explains His No Vote on HR 4

If you go back to my original posting on the HR 4 vote you will see two comments have been left there. One is an “Anonymous” comment that was signed Scott Hochberg, and the other is my reply to it. “Anonymous” turned out indeed to be State Rep. Hochberg . . .I checked.

I thought that Rep. Hochberg made some really good points, and he was correct that I wrongly included him in the “Message 34” . . . .er . . . “Message 33” members on HR 4. I thought that the points were so well put that I just can’t leave them buried in comments so I am bringing them up front here.

Rep Scott Hochberg says that he never casts votes to send messages, and did not do it this time. Others, here, here and here have painted the vote as an anti-Craddick vote rather than an anti-HR 4 vote. But Rep Hochberg writes this:
“I do not vote to "messages" to Speaker Craddick, and did not do that today. I voted against the measure because in my view the leadership team never made its case as to why they wanted it passed.”
This is just me interpreting here, but doesn’t this indicate that the leadership team’s case was not made because that might cause more Democrats to vote no? Their case, as far as I could see from my limited time viewing the debate, is that it’s done every year, that they voted for the suspension the last X number of sessions so what’s different here?

Hochberg goes on to say that he would have voted “No” on the resolution no matter what.
“. . . having seen at least one major bill rushed to the floor in years past without proper consideration, the only logical vote for me was to vote no.”
Again, point taken. It would not necessarily be Craddick or his cronies that might rush a bad piece of legislation to the floor. So again, the vote was not anti-Craddick, it was against getting bad bills put in a shell game and pushed through without due consideration. That was the purpose of the 60-Day rule, to ensure that bills are given the consideration they deserve and not rushed to a vote.

I then asked Rep Hochberg which major bill comes to mind when he considered his vote on HR 4 and this is what he wrote in his reply:
“The one that comes to mind was the bill that would have repealed much of the education code, which never actually made it to the floor because there was enough of an uproar over the content that they felt they did not have the votes, but it was passed from House committee early in the session with no real testimony on a day when most members went to Houston for a commemoration of the shuttle tragedy. The intent was to bring it to the floor quickly and rush it through.”
Wow. Using the memorial service for 7 dead Columbia astronauts to eliminate testimony on a major bill? After witnessing behavior like that, I think I would have automatically voted "No" on this resolution every time it came up.

Hochberg rocks.

And on a separate note, as I am writing this, I hear on TV in the next room that Molly Ivins has just passed away. I don't know about you, but I think we have just lost a Texas gem. She and her brilliant wit will be missed.

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