Return to the Sandbox

By Ruth Lambert

SB1485 PEVL purge bill

The bill was put on the floor calendar late, not abiding by the House Rules on agenda timing. A one-hour delay was granted, not the appropriately requested 24 hours. House Speaker Rusty Bowers really, really wanted to get this bill passed and sent it back to the Senate so they could transfer it to the Governor.

But the Democrats noticed four Republicans were attending remotely. Earlier in the session Democrats tried to change the rules so remote attendance was allowable for comments, votes and quorum. However, Republicans would not allow remote attendance to count for quorum (only Democrats were remote at the start of session).

Democrats did not want these bills heard, so they left the building, necessitating the four Republicans to return in person to achieve quorum. When everyone was back in the chamber, people wearing attire advocating for PEVL were told to change, and discussion was cut off repeatedly when Democrats were pointing out flaws in the bill and stating who would be most affected by this bill.

As expected, the Bill passed the house on party lines.

The Bill was transferred back to the Senate on April 20, but with GOP Senators heading to the border for a photo op on April 21, the bill was not put for a Senate floor vote until Thursday, April 25.

It was a big surprise when one Republican said she could not vote on any election bills until the Senate audit was over and results were known. Representative Kelly Townsend (R-LD16) had made her views known to leadership, but they brought it for a vote anyway. Sparks flew when the bill’s sponsor, Michele Ugenti-Rita R-LD23, accused her colleague of “retaliation voting” as Rita had blocked many of Townsend’s bills. Since Rita’s bill would fail at 15-15, she switched her vote to a NO, making the final vote 14-16. This allows her to use the parliamentary procedure to bring the bill back for reconsideration (revote). If you can handle it, stay tuned.

More on this week’s legislative updates:

Save the School updates on education bills go here: Read this week’s Legislative Report

Civic Engagement Beyond Voting Legislative Updates go here.

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Legislative Weekly keeps you well informed. Click here.