Sunday, May 27, 2007

Drama Over Craddick Continues

If you haven't been following the attempted ouster of Speaker Tom Craddick from the Texas Legislature, you're missing the most excitement since some Democrats went missing a few years ago during the redistricting saga.

The mechanics are a bit complicated, but Craddick (dubbed Auto-Craddick by his detractors for his dictatorial style) is facing a bipartisan movement to elect a new speaker before the end of the session.

The Burnt Orange Report has all the juicy details, including speculation that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, never a Craddick fan, is lending some behind the scenes support.

Craddick's future hinges on some arcane parliamentarian rules regarding a "motion to vacate." As Speaker, Craddick has prevented the attempted coup by using his role as speaker to block any motion that would lead to his removal. Members argue this is in violation of House rules. (Read his defense and the arguments against.)

In the meantime, some local representatives have signaled their support for Craddick.

Euless Republican Todd Smith called the speakers position an "abuse of power," while supporter Myra Crownover, a Republican from Denton, called Mr. Smith and the other critics "anarchists."

Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, is seen lending a sympathetic ear to the embattled speaker.

The drama overshadows last minute attempts to move some bills in the legislature, which is sure to make for some interesting political football down the road. Speculation hints that the showdown may leave the budget bill unfinished, mandating a special session later this summer.

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