Texas provides, if nothing else, outstanding theatre:
Eleven of 12 Democratic state senators abruptly left the state Capitol this afternoon and headed for Albuquerque after learning that Gov. Rick Perry was about to call a second special session on congressional redistricting.
In case you’ve forgotten the chronology, here it is:
- The Texas legistlature was unable to agree upon U.S. Congressional districts.
- A panel of three federal judges (2 Ds and 1 R; the R chaired the panel) drew maps.
- A year passed.
- With control of the Texas legislature and governor’s office, DeLay got the clever idea to gerrymander an additional 3-6 Republican seats.
- Texas House members took off to Ardmore, Oklahoma, thereby blocking attainment of a quorum and killing the redistricting effort, in the regular session.
- Two months pass.
- Governor Rick Perry calls a special session of the Texas Legislature, specifically to consider redistricting.
- Oklahoma apparently was not an option in the summer, so the measure passes the Texas House.
- In the Texas Senate, Democrats hold the line and are joined by one Republican, leaving redistricting supporters in the Texas Sentate with less than the 2/3 majority vote they traditionally need to start debating a bill.
- Ah, but apparently it’s “tradition”, not “law”. So while Lt. Gov Dewhurst said he wouldn’t circumvent the 2/3 convention in the first special session, he never said he would not do so in the second special session.
- The first special session ended, and Gov. Perry immediately called another one, solely to again address redistricting (hasn’t someone been telling me to “get over it” since 12/2000? Who was that?)
- In the 45 minutes between the expiration of the first special session and the convening of the second, 11 Democrats head for Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The nice thing about Albuquerque is that it’s quite scenic with lots of nature-related activities, so the Democrats should, barring pressing family or work (most Texas Legislators have day jobs) needs, enjoy staying there for a while if necessary. So far, neither the House nor the Senate has a quorum, and it looks like the Texas Democrats have adopted a “by any means necessary” mindset–but so have the Republicans. Republicans are at least 5 years into that mindset (dating back to Lewinsky/Impeachment, if not sooner). This is the first real sign of life from Democrats–and, as is to be expected, it’s Democrats from the “Remember the Alamo” state.
P.S. I suppose the judicial filibusters by U.S. Senate Democrats also count as a sign of life, but while extremely important, those are probably less noticed by the public.
UPDATE: Needless to say, Off the Kuff will be your best source for up to date information on this.