Wednesday, January 25, 2017

South Dakota

This blog entry is first to inform Alabamians about the anti-corruption story going on in South Dakota that is reported in the below Washington Post article, with a video from The Young Turks posted following the article, an email from the organization @RepresentDotUs appended reporting on national publicity resulting in the vote of the South Dakota legislature being delayed, and a further email reporting that, in a vote, the South Dakota Senate ran over SD voters.

@RepresentDotUs and other reform organizations are endeavoring to push out information about this South Dakota story as widely as possible in the public domain. I urge that @RepresentDotUs and the other organizations use tweeting banks as a tool for doing this. To understand the tweeting bank tool, see How should tweeting banks be used.


The Washington Post
South Dakota lawmakers are showing us that populism is a lie
A voter-approved ethics reform measure is about to be tossed aside.
By Patrick Lalley January 25 at 11:50 AM
Patrick Lalley is a South Dakota writer and journalist who has covered Upper Midwest politics for 25 years.


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The working-class sincerity of President Trump and his band of Rust Belt revolutionaries will be decided over the coming months. In the meantime, there is a test case for ruling elites and 21st century populists alike here in South Dakota.
Once the bastion of prairie-style Democrats, such as George McGovern and Tom Daschle, this state is now as red as a lazy August sunset. South Dakotans backed Trump by 30 points in November. But they also passed a wide-ranging anti-corruption measure intended to limit the influence of campaign cash and interloping lobbyists.
The establishment is disturbed.
Now the South Dakota legislature has convened, intent on overturning the voter-approved law, officially known as Initiated Measure 22. They’re so concerned they want to invoke an “emergency clause” that would allow whatever is passed to go into effect immediately.
The emergency for South Dakota lawmakers is that voters just expressed deep concern about their ethics. Lawmakers suggest the measure that passed is unworkable, that voters didn’t know what they were doing. The response? Wipe it out.
That is, to put it kindly, tone deaf.
What exactly constitutes an emergency in South Dakota? We don’t have hurricanes here, though we have started naming our blizzards. But the emergency in the eyes of the legislature appears to be severe restrictions on free dinner and drinks. Well … that, and public financing for elections.
Initiated Measure 22 made four significant changes. It lowered limits on campaign contributions for legislative, county and statewide candidates and increased reporting requirements. It installed a two-year ban on lobbying and limited gifts to former state officials. It created a system of public financing of elections under which citizens could assign small amounts of money to candidates of their choosing. And it formed an ethics commission to oversee all this reform.
[How clean is your state government? In all but three states, not very.]
Immediately after the law passed, two lobbyists resigned from the state transportation commission, citing a conflict, and some lawmakers groused about losing all those goodies. South Dakota lawmakers make a paltry $6,000 a year plus some mileage reimbursement for their trouble, so gratis grub helps pass three months in Pierre, the nation’s second-smallest capital city.
The Republican governor and legislative leaders contend out-of-state interests, who took advantage of cheap media and general isolation, fooled the good people of the state with a poorly crafted measure.
Voters were “hoodwinked by scam artists,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R). The law is clearly unconstitutional and needs to be repealed, state leaders said. Don’t worry; we’ll fix it, they said. Trust us.
But that’s kind of the point: Voters nationally and in South Dakota said they don’t trust the old crop of politicians. For evidence of that, just look at Trump.
South Dakota has a long history of allowing the people to write laws directly. It was the first state in the nation to adopt the initiative option during the height of the populist movement in 1898, as disaffected Midwest farmers fought back against real and perceived monopolies.
Drey Samuelson is one of the chief “scam artists” involved with IM-22. The Nebraska native served as former senator Tim Johnson’s (D) chief of staff for 28 years and co-founded TakeItBack.org, the group that pushed the measure locally with backing from a Massachusetts organization, Represent.us. Putting reforms such as IM-22 allows people to sidestep lobbyists and other influence in ways that would never happen in the South Dakota legislature, Samuelson said.
“The key is that powerful interests can control a legislature fairly easily, but it’s much harder, not impossible, to control the entire state,” he said.
Opponents of IM-22 in the legislature found a sympathetic ear in a circuit court judge, who put the entirety of the law on hold to allow the inevitable challenge to the state supreme court.
That hasn’t slowed the march in the legislature, however, where the phrase “repeal and replace” has found a comfortable home in a new context. This is where it’s instructive for the red-tie crowd in Washington: How far can lawmakers push back against the will of the people?
South Dakotans were influenced by a couple high-profile scandals involving the embezzlement of piles of cash by folks on the fringes of government, contractors who took advantage of a naive — at best — bureaucracy.
[Trump’s nominees are putting us all at risk by ignoring ethics laws]
The one persuasive rationale the Republican powers that be in Pierre have offered for tossing the whole thing out so urgently is that the state may, honestly, not be able to afford it. The public funding portion of the law is estimated to cost about $5 million annually, but could go up to as much as $12 million. That’s real money is a small state with fewer than 1 million people and no income tax.
A likely pot of money is education funding. “I believe it’s not responsible to use taxpayer money to fund political campaigns at the cost of education,” Daugaard said. “And I’m certain that the voters of this state did not support that.”
The script for repeal of the law seems set. The emergency clause requires a two-thirds vote, which the GOP majority in the statehouse can get just from its own members.
Still, beware the politician who pushes back too far against the will of the people, said Brad Tennant, a professor of history at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D.
Despite South Dakota’s rich history with voter-initiated laws, not that many of them have passed, said Tennant, who specializes in politics and history of the Northern Plains. So tinkering with one that actually succeeded is particularly dangerous for lawmakers.
“There are some concerns,” Tennant said, “but if you’re going to change it or replace it you had better give us something better that still reflects the desires the people had hoped for.”
South Dakota is a conservative state for sure, but the populist thread is long. The People’s Party National Convention was held in Sioux Falls in 1900, nominating famed populist William Jennings Bryan for the presidency.
The People’s Party was the product of that 19th century populist revolution.
Bryan lost in 1900, of course. He also lost in 1896 as a Democrat and in 1908, again as a Populist.
Trump did what Bryan never could: Bring what purports to be the people’s agenda to the White House. That same populist enthusiasm hasn’t reached the state capital in South Dakota, apparently.
“If it doesn’t work, that’s one thing,” said Samuelson, the former Johnson aide. “But to immediately repeal it when it hasn’t had a chance to work, that’s dangerous.”

The Young Turks video


Update 1/27/17
From: hq@represent.us
To: rdshatt@aol.com
Sent: 1/26/2017 9:27:10 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: BREAKING: We delayed repeal 
This is huge. Politicians in South Dakota were fast-tracking their plot to declare a fake "state of emergency" so they could gut the Anti-Corruption Act passed by voters.

Robert -
This is huge. Politicians in South Dakota were fast-tracking their plot to declare a fake "state of emergency" and gut the Anti-Corruption Act passed by voters.
But Represent.Us members spread the news about their plan so far and wide on social media, it provoked a wave of national attention and local outrage. South Dakota politicians were deluged with calls from angry voters and the story hit MSNBC, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and more.
We created so much public outrage and national attention they delayed the repeal vote. Now, we've got just 5 days to make sure undermining the people is the worst political decision they'll ever make.
Our members are organizing to pack the Senate chambers. Will you chip in to help fund the trip for activists coming from across the state?
The new vote is Wednesday, February 1st. We need to raise $10,000 by Tuesday at Midnight to make this work. Here's the plan:
  • Offer transportation to students, elderly and others who can't make the trip on their own.
  • Spread the word with paid promotion on social media so Facebook's algorithm shows this event to every South Dakotan who's sick of establishment politicians thinking they can run roughshod over the people's government.
  • Hire a professional videographer to make sure this moment is captured and shared across the country.
Our campaign is working. These politicians don't like the scrutiny, and they don't like the media attention.
They're hoping that rescheduling this vote means we'll lose steam. That the media will go away so they can still gut the Anti-Corruption Act, but avoid a national outcry.
We need your help to show them that fundamental American values like accepting election results and respecting the will of the people will survive in America.
Will you make a donation to help fill the room on Wednesday and show politicians across the country that the voters won't stand for repealing the Anti-Corruption Act?
Thank you for joining us in this fight.
Josh Silver
Director
Represent.Us

Update 2/1/17
From: hq@represent.us
To: rdshatt@aol.com
Sent: 2/1/2017 6:15:07 P.M. Central Standard Time
Subj: BREAKING: Senate repeals Anti-Corruption Act



Robert:
After thousands of emails and calls from voters, protests outside the capital, and a standing-room-only crowd in the Capitol balcony chanting "Respect our vote!" the South Dakota Senate brazenly voted to overturn the election results anyway and repeal America's first statewide Anti-Corruption Act.
The repeal bill is on its way to Governor Dennis Daugaard's desk. Sign this petition to send an immediate email to Daugaard so he knows the whole nation is witnessing a U.S. Governor overturn the results of a free and fair election, undermining democracy in the process. https://act.represent.us/sign/veto-1069/?t=2&akid=12262.356697.oW8TcN

Together, we've used social media, phone calls, and newspaper ads to make repealing the Anti-Corruption Act a political nightmare for every politician involved — and they deserve it. South Dakota politicians are lying to voters to give themselves false political cover. It's appalling.
Sources tell us that the outgoing Governor is concerned about his legacy, and this kind of negative attention is exactly what he's trying to avoid.
We need to remind him, publicly, that a legacy of ignoring cronyism and corruption is unacceptable. That ignoring the will of the people comes with a heavy political price. Moments like these give us the opportunity to leverage the full power of our nationwide network behind a cause we all believe in. Let's use it.
We need to show the Governor that the whole country is watching. Attacking democracy won't be tolerated. Will you sign and share the petition demanding a veto?
Then call the governor: 605.773.3212
This is not normal. It's not ok. We will not stand for it. Our democracy is at stake - and it's up to us to defend it.
Dan's headshot Dan Krassner
Political Director
Represent.Us

Friday, January 20, 2017

Please speak

To Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell

You heard the President's inaugural address and its pledge to transfer power from Washington DC and give it back to the American people.


Will you please speak in response to what the President said?

Please post on your website (or somewhere else).

Please dialogue with your Alabama citizens about what the President said, about your response, and about questions your Alabama citizens have for you about the same.

Thank you.


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chaffetz letter

To Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell:

My opinion is that the Chaffetz letter situation presages Congress and Trump getting bogged down bigly.

The letter was sent after the director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, announced at a press conference on Wednesday that President-elect Trump’s “fix” to his ethics and emoluments clause problems didn’t fix anything. In response, Chaffetz sent Shaub a letter accusing him of unprofessionally blurring politics and ethics guidance, and demanding that Shaub make himself available for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to “interview” him. The letter slams Shaub for attempting to engage in “public relations” and raises at the end of the letter Congress’s need to reauthorize the OGE.

It is fairly certain the controversy over the Trump organization is not going to end anytime soon, and the only question is how big a problem it will become and how much it results in Trump being hampered in implementing his policies and programs.

If Trump gets bogged down, it means Congress will be bogged down too and look bad, and you, the Alabama delegation in DC, will look bad.

You are far better equipped than I to evaluate the risk for yourselves here.

In making your evaluation, I hope you will consider how Trump could have made a sacrifice for the country (as laid out in A Trump speech - NOT), thereby ended the problem of the Trump organization, and further won esteem for himself and greatly aided himself in implementing his policies and programs to help the American people.

Trump is making it evident that he is not going to sacrifice anything personally for the country, and he will take great pleasure in the Trump organization exploiting Trump's Presidency to make the Trump brand even more valuable.

For upwards of half the country, Trump is more and more proving that he is a bullying, blustering, vainglorious egomaniac who is interested only in himself and his greater glory. 

You will have your own views and analysis of the dicey situation that Trump and the country are in, and you will reach your own decisions about what you are going to do.

One choice is to let Trump roll over you (which I think you know he is going to try to do), or you can push back. Maybe Trump will be successful in rolling over Congress, the media, the intel community and the 65,000,000 Americans who voted for Hillary Clinton. Alternatively, his unrelenting belief in himself may cause him to run headlong into an immovable wall and come a cropper.

Only time is going to tell whether Congress gets bogged down with Trump, and whether Congress continues to go down in the eyes of the country.

Good luck.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Luther Strange's $309,000

It has been reported that Luther Strange has raised $309,000 for running for the United States Senate when an election is held to fill Senator Sessions' seat. The indication is that Attorney General Strange will make this run regardless of whether he receives an interim appointment for the Senate seat from Governor Bentley.

The 2016 Presidential election
A central issue in the 2016 Presidential election was the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Candidate Trump,  in his very first debate in 2015, was brutally frank about this, saying he gave a lot to politicians, and when he gave, "they were there for him when he needed them" and this was a broken system. Here's the video of that.


There proceeded months and months of Presidential campaigning by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump that vociferously charged that a corrupt Congress and broken political system were failing the American people.

Bernie Sanders did not win the Democratic nomination in July.

Donald Trump carried on his criticisms in the general election and campaigned hard at the close of his campaign that he would "drain the swamp" in Washington DC.

This culminated in Trump's Contract with the American Voter, in which he committed to embark immediately on a plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington. The Contract proposed six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC. These are:

★ FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.

★ SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).

★ THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

★ FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.

★ FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.

★ SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

The Congressional level
The 2016 Presidential election was overwhelmingly dominant in the news.

The 2016 Congressional elections in Alabama were noncompetitve, and the campaigning in those elections provided to Alabama voters nothing about the "corruption" issue compared to what the voters heard from the Presidential election.

Since November 8th, Senators Sessions and Shelby,  and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell, have been largely silent concerning President-Elect Trump's Contract with the American Voter and its plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion. For more information about this, see Continued corruption silence.

Attorney General Strange as a focus
Perhaps Attorney General Strange's fund raising and his run for the United States Senate can provide a focus for continuing the attention of Alabama voters on the corruption issue during the coming year. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Continued corruption silence

In Alabama Today, Rep. Bradley Byrne has laid out Five things to watch for progress by Congress in 2017, consisting of health care relief, a stronger military, regulatory reform, immigration enforcement, and a simpler tax code.

Thus far, on his Congressman Gary Palmer Facebook page, Rep. Palmer has mentioned repealing and replacing Obamacare and his co- sponsorship and vote for  Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2017, H.R. 26.

Since November 10th, I have been making an effort to elicit comment from the Alabama legislative delegation in Washington (Senators Sessions and Shelby; Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell), concerning President-Elect Trump's Contract with the American Voter and its plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion.

I have received no response from any of Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell, except that Rep. Byrne replied that he supported term limits. 

For further information about this effort and response or lack of response, see DC corruption silence.

There are a couple of possible interpretations here. One is that the Alabama delegation does not believe anything is wrong with Congress that needs fixing. Or that something is wrong with Congress, but they don't have ideas for how to fix it or don't believe it can be fixed. Or that something is wrong but it is not so bad to be worth worrying about. Or that something is wrong with Congress, but they like it that way.

Is the silence of Alabama's legislative delegation going to continue? Is the silence representative of what will be forthcoming from the rest of the members of Congress? 

Is President-Elect Trump's Contract with the American Voter, and its plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion, basically a joke or a fraud perpetrated on the American people?

Friday, January 6, 2017

Further ideas for fixing Congress?

Do Senators Sessions and Shelby and Representatives Byrne, Roby, Rogers, Aderholt, Brooks, Palmer and Sewell want to  tell Alabamians about any further ideas they have for fixing Congress (in addition to Shelby and Byrne balanced budget amendments (reported on below) and Byrne's support of term limits)? (For previous information related to this, see DC corruption silence.)

Friday, January 6th 2017

Shelby and Byrne introduce balanced budget amendments

money
By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Wednesday, January 4, 2017, balanced budget amendments were introduced in both houses of Congress. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced legislation proposing a constitutional amendment that would require Congress to have a balanced budget in an effort to reduce our nation’s mounting debt, which has increased from $10.6 trillion to more than $19 trillion under President Barack Obama. U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Shelby said, “The idea behind a balanced budget amendment is simple: the federal government should be required to do what hardworking Americans do every day – balance a budget.
“A $19 trillion debt is simply unsustainable and will place a heavy burden on our children and grandchildren if we do not take steps to reverse this irresponsible course. I’m pleased to once again introduce this common sense policy that would reduce wasteful government spending, restore confidence in our economy, and foster job growth.”
The bill is the first piece of legislation introduced by Congressman Byrne in the 115th Congress, which officially convened on January 3rd.
“I thought it was important and fitting for my first bill introduced in the 115th Congress to be a balanced budget amendment,” Byrne stated. “With the national debt over $19 trillion dollars, it is no secret the federal government has serious spending issues, and I believe a balanced budget amendment is the best way to ensure responsible budgeting.
“Requiring balanced budgets is not a far flung idea. Already, most states are required to have a balanced budget, and families and small businesses face the challenge of living within their means every single day. The federal government should have to play by the same rules in order to restore fiscal sanity in Washington.”
A balanced budget amendment would have to be passed by Congress and ratified by three-fourths of the states. According to Shelby, his balanced budget amendment would require that the total amount of money spent by the United States during any fiscal year, except during times of war, not exceed the amount of revenue received by the United States during the same fiscal year, and not exceed 20 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States during the previous calendar year.
Byrne’s amendment would require that the President submit a balanced budget proposal to Congress each year.
Senator Shelby has introduced similar legislation in every Congress since taking office. Byrne introduced a similar bill at the start of the 114th Congress in 2015.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Tim Lockette

Thank you, Tim Lockette, for your Anniston Star article "Alabama lawmakers defend their votes after ethics panel backlash" (text of article appended below).

I think your article should be read in context.

The 2016 Presidential election was a remarkable eighteen months of Presidential campaigning by Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump that vociferously charged that a corrupt Congress and broken political system were failing the American people.

President-Elect Donald Trump campaigned hard at the close of his campaign that he would "drain the swamp" in Washington DC.

In his Contract with the American Voter, Trump committed to embark immediately on a plan for restoring honesty and accountability, and bringing change to Washington. The Contract proposed six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC. These are:
★ FIRST, propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.
★ SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health).
★ THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.
★ FOURTH, a five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.
★ FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.
★ SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.

Here are some questions:

Your article says: "Lawmakers have sometimes grumbled about the OCE, claiming it makes public relations mountains out of ethical molehills."

So, that's it? 

Alabamians have been blown on hard by the above described 2016 Presidential election campaign. 

Did Alabamians hear anything from their representatives in Congress during the past 18 months whether Congress was broken? 

Did any of Alabama's reps in Congress say, "Houston, we have a problem here with Congress that the American people need to address?"

No, the reps kept themselves covered up for these 18 months.

Then on the eve of the start of the new Congress, the American people hear "oh we have public relations mountains being made out of ethical molehills."

Is that what the 2016 Presidential election was about in their minds, ethical molehills?

Tim, why don't you ask them that, whether their view of the Presidential election is that it was only about ethical molehills.  Maybe if you ask them that, we can get to the bottom of how well Alabama's reps in Congress are serving Alabamians.

Thank you, Tim.


January 4, 2017
Alabama lawmakers defend their votes after ethics panel backlash
By Tim Lockette, Star Staff Writer, tlockette@annistonstar.com 8 hrs ago
A vote by congressional Republicans to strip powers from a key House of Representatives ethics panel left Alabama’s delegation with a lot of explaining to do Tuesday.
Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, voted Monday for rules changes that would have gutted the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. 
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile, says he voted no. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, missed the Monday vote, but didn’t object on Tuesday when Republicans withdrew the changes.
The rest of Alabama’s House delegation was silent on their vote on the ethics panel changes — a vote that quickly blossomed into 2017’s first political dust-up.
“I hope this is a lesson to them,” said Tom Fitton, president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. “Americans really think Washington is corrupt.”
Congress convened for its 2017 session Tuesday, swearing in new members and preparing to vote on House and Senate rules. But even before the session started, members of the Republican House majority came together to decide on the rules they’d send to the full House for approval.
Those rules included a plan to strip the OCE — an independent ethics watchdog created by House members in 2009 — of much of its authority. Under the proposal, the panel would have answered to the House Ethics Committee, composed of lawmakers from both parties, and would no longer accept anonymous tips.
Lawmakers have sometimes grumbled about the OCE, claiming it makes public relations mountains out of ethical molehills.
Concerns about disorder in the ethics complaints process are valid, which is why Rep. Roby supported a policy change to further empower the Ethics Committee to do its job,” wrote Roby spokesman Todd Stacy in an email to The Star. Roby was one of the few lawmakers to explain her reasons for voting for the changes.
The only current Alabama lawmaker to be investigated by the panel is Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, who was probed in 2010 over $941 in travel money. The final report from that investigation was 144 pages long.
It’s unclear how Aderholt voted on the ethics changes. Because the initial vote to change the ethics panel was an internal party decision, the vote was held behind closed doors. Attempts to reach Aderholt as well as Mike Rogers of Saks and Gary Palmer of Birmingham for comment on the vote were unsuccessful Tuesday.
One Alabama lawmaker, Democrat Terri Sewell of Birmingham, never got a chance to vote on the changes. Republicans were scheduled to bring the changes to a vote of the full House on Tuesday, but they dropped the plan after it generated public backlash.
“I think they came to their senses when they saw how important transparency is to the American people,” said Jordan Libovitz, a spokesman for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, also known as CREW.
Both CREW and Judicial Watch are officially nonpartisan groups, though CREW is widely seen as politically liberal while Judicial Watch is conservative. Both groups joined several other watchdog organizations in December to send a letter to the House asking them to leave the OCE untouched.
Asked why the independent ethics panel was needed, Libowitz noted that the Senate lacks a similar body — and hasn’t seriously punished an ethics violator in years.
“It’s incredibly important to their nonpartiality that they continue to be an independent organization,” he said.
Fitton said there’s little appetite among the House Ethics Committee — composed of House members — to take on tough ethical questions.
“The committee is equally divided between Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “It’s not a recipe for aggressive investigation.”
Brooks, the Huntsville lawmaker, said in a prepared statement that he supported the Tuesday decision to kill the changes to the ethics panel. His staff said he missed the initial vote on the changes because of a travel delay.
“He didn’t have the opportunity to vote,” Brooks spokeswoman Annalyse Keller said.
In his statement, Brooks didn’t completely reject the changes, but did say there should be more public discussion before changes are made.
In my view, it is inappropriate to consider an issue of this magnitude with so little public debate and so little time for proper evaluation and consideration,” Brooks was quoted as saying.
When Republicans decided to withdraw the changes, they did so by consent vote — meaning no one counted votes because there were no objections.
The House is expected to reconsider the changes later this year.
Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.