Twitter is abuzz with the news that Speaker Bosma will move HJR 6 / 3 and its “partner” HB 1153 from the House Judiciary Committee to the House Elections Committee. This is a very unusual move for a bill that the Speaker claimed was not a priority. It is not unheard of for legislation to be moved to a more favorable panel if it is dying in another committee. But, certainly, this extra effort shows that the bill is of more importance to the Speaker than he had let on earlier. It also suggests that the bill did not have the votes to make it out of the judiciary committee.
The members of the House Elections committee are, on the Republican side: Reps. Smith (chair), Richardson (vice-chair), Rep. Woody Burton, Rep. Casey Cox, Rep. Hamm, Soliday, Sullivan, Thompson, and Wesco; and, on the Democratic side: Reps. Bartlett (ranking minority member), Battles, GiaQuinta, and Goodin. Per Eric Berman, the committee will hear another round of testimony tomorrow (January, 22, 2014 –
time to be determined at 3:30 p.m. in the House Chambers.)
This thing is like a sick dog. It’s the wrong thing to do. Even for those who disagree on the morality of voting for this resolution, the fairly straight forward first sentence is redundant because of existing state law. The second sentence is impenetrable and ill-advised. HB 1153 the “explanatory” companion legislation acknowledges the problems with the proposed constitutional language but raises more questions than it answers.
The Speaker should have let the resolution die a merciful death in committee.
Update Niki Kelly, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has coverage of the development.
[Speaker Bosma] said he struggled with the decision over the weekend but had heard from a majority of the House Republican caucus – for and against the measure – that they wanted to vote on the bill on the House floor.
Bosma made a veiled reference to shadiness regarding the Judiciary Committee but would not embellish.
“I’m actually more concerned about the path by which the bill appeared to be being questionable in committee. It was a hard left turn that came kind of out of the blue,” he said. “I decided this was the right course to protect the institution.”
Shadiness in the Judiciary Committee? Now, I’m really curious.