Thursday, May 25, 2017

Neil doing Neil things

This is a small matter but it should probably be noted. I'll try to quickly explain the very dry nuts and bolts of it so you'll understand just how small a matter it is. Yesterday the Democrats in the state House voted to hold up House Bill 3 which authorizes bond sales to pay for items in House Bill 2 which is the capital projects budget.  The reason they did this, and they freely admit this is the reason, is they needed something they could use as leverage to talk about how bad the Republicans' version of House Bill 1 (the operating budget) actually is.

With two weeks to go in the session, the legislature has done nothing to solve its ongoing fiscal crisis.  They have shelved all of the governor's proposed revenue measures, put forth a draconian Republican budget that futher slashes health and social services in favor of TOPS and a 2.5 percent "cushion" just in case currently insufficient revenues turn out to be even less sufficient, and set themselves firmly on course to come back into special session later in the year probably so they can fail all over again.

There are a few things the Senate can do to help but the source of the trouble is in the House so that's a good place for the Democrats to throw a tantrum.  And that's what the hold up over HB 3 is. It's a tantrum, probably a symbolic one at that.  Everybody knows HB 3 has to pass eventually.  The maneuver here is just meant to get some attention.  And this is why all of the Democrats in the House voted together on this. They needed to send a signal that they mean business and.... wait.. what? Oh... sure.
HB3 needed a super-majority of at least 70 votes in the 105-member House. It received 56 votes, with only one Democrat voting yes.
One guy just couldn't get on board.  I mean, like we said, it's a small thing since there were enough votes to stop the bill and all but isn't it interesting that one Democrat had to sit out the exercise.  Let's go see who that was. I'll bet you can spot it.
Voting for HB3 (56): Speaker Barras, and Reps. Abraham, Abramson, Amedee, Bacala, Bagley, Berthelot, Bishop, Broadwater, S. Carter, Chaney, Coussan, Crews, Cromer, Davis, DeVillier, Dwight, Edmonds, Emerson, Falconer, Guinn, L. Harris, Havard, Hazel, Henry, Hilferty, Hodges, Hoffmann, Hollis, Horton, Howard, Huval, N. Landry, Leopold, Mack, Magee, McFarland, Miguez, G. Miller, Jay Morris, Jim Morris, Pearson, Pope, Pugh, Pylant, Richard, Schexnayder, Seabaugh, Shadoin, Simon, Stagni, Stefanski, Stokes, Talbot, Thomas and Zeringue.
Again, not a huge thing, but it's a very Neil thing.

In any case, the fight over the House budget isn't over. This afternoon the governor stepped in and threatened a veto if the final version looks like what the House has passed. It's good to see somebody is playing hardball. Since we'll all be back here in a few months anyway, there's no reason not to.

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