by Max Brantley
The legislature won't finish work today.
The Senate will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. Monday to complete action on congressional redistricting legislation because Republicans resisted a suspension of rules to allow consideration of the House redistricting bill today. The House also agreed to return at 1:30 p.m. Monday should action be required by the House following Senate work.
Reading between the lines, it appeared to me that the votes were expected to be in hand to pass the House bill (Fayetteville to the Fourth) in the Senate, though this will require a rare vote to pull the bill out of committee, where it's marooned by a 4-4 partisan split. The House didnt seem to be expecting to have to act. Business Monday will be limited to one subject, redistricting.
On the other hand: because a vote to extract a bill is so unusual, it can cause lingering hard feelings. And so the Senate might devise an alternate plan to pass and send to the House. Given the heartache that went into earlier House passage, it's hard to imagine dropping a new plan at the north end of the Capitol for instant approval Monday. But unseen forces may well be at work.
The legislature is not REQUIRED to complete redistricting now. It could delay this until early next year, though the longer the matter is delayed the more trouble it causes for candidates planning races.
Bless Rep. Jim Nickels. He tried to bring up whether he could seek to expunge the vote passing SJR 5, the corporate welfare constitutional amendment, which got the bare minimum 51 votes for approval. He said he hoped to peel some votes off. But Parliamenatiran Tim Massanelli said that would be out of order.
PS — A senator who's a pretty good vote counter says he thinks the votes were in place for the House plan if it could have been voted today. A weekend of pressure could erode that support, he says. Chances of an alternative plan? "50-/50"
PPS — Confirmed. Things are in flux. Many machinations underway in Senate. But where's the guarantee House will buy whatever emerges if it is not the plan they approved?