Perhaps no one votes 'No' more than Democrat, Eric Proctor. But today, his parliamentary move may have resulting in passing the most fiscally conservative budget proposal of the special session.
A few bills were presented in the House Joint Committee of Appropriations & Budget (JCAB). They were efforts to protect citizens from being harmed by agencies who were resorting to threats of the most dire consequences of not getting massive tax increases.
Chairman Kevin Wallace started with HB1038, the bill ordering the Healthcare Authority not to kick folks out of nursing homes or similar home healthcare programs. Rep. Kevin Calvey made a strong case to pass the bill, but Leslie Osborne, Earl Sears, and Josh Cockroft were in lock-step with the Democrats and beating the drum for more scare tactics. They're still sore over not raising massive new taxes.
Then John Bennett made a passionate case for protecting state trooper pay, as the Dept. of Public Safety is hinting to do, if the agency faces any cuts. That bill , HB1027; barely passed on a 13-12 vote. Again, Sears, Osborne, Watson, & Cockroft were voting with the Democrats.
When biggest bill, HB1019 was entering debate, Rep Eric Proctor got a text from Rep. David Perryman, over on the House floor. The Speaker Pro Temp, Harold Wright; was gaveling them into session.
That's when Proctor interrupted the JCAB meeting with a citation of a House Rule that committees could not be holding official business while the House is in session. So then the presiding committee chairman ordered a suspension for the House to convene.
It may actually have been a trick of the Speaker's team. Because the House gaveled out immediately after the pledge & prayer. It was still before noon.
But the JCAB meeting resume until 3pm. And when they did, the Speaker, himself; was there, along with his speaker Pro Temp & Majority Floor Leader. In all 5 more members were in attendance. Only Scott Inman was absent. But Charles McCall's presence seems to have drawn young Josh Cockroft back from serving as Leslie Osborn's 'amen corner'. Weldon Watson also voted in solidarity with the Speaker. What would have been perhaps a 11-14 failed vote that morning, turned into a 17-13 success, by stalling the process.
Either Proctor came up with this on his own, or perhaps Rep. Wright knew what he was doing and Proctor fell for it?
Net result is that the budget bill HB1019 will be voted on weds. at 10am.