At Tuesday’s Democratic leadership press conference, House Speaker Laurie Jinkins laid the blame for the death of Senate Bill 5909, emergency powers relief, at the feet of House Republican leader J.T. Wilcox.
At about 1:30 in the morning on Friday, debate on SB 5909 was cut off in the House by majority party Democrats after some 30 minutes of discussion on a proposed amendment offered up by Republican Rep. Chris Corry to strengthen the legislation. It was not brought up again.
“We had it on the floor the day before cutoff, the night before cutoff for Senate bills,” Jinkins explained at the press conference in response to a reporter’s question. “We believed that, you know, there would be some debate on the bill, but that it would move forward and we – our caucus was supportive of it moving forward. And then it became clear during the first amendment that was offered that there was going to be a lot of debate, a lot of speeches on the Republican side.”
She elaborated, “[Democrat Majority Leader] Rep. [Pat] Sullivan and I went and visited Rep. Wilcox and said, ‘Hey do you want to pass the bill or do you want to give a lot of speeches?’ And he said, ‘Let me think about it.’ And came back over about 15 minutes later and said, ‘We want to talk about it. We want to give a lot of speeches.’”
That prompted the decision to end debate on the bill, according to Jinkins.
“And at that point we were within 24 hours of cutoff and couldn’t – other bills were dying as a result of it,” she said. “So, we moved on. It was always open right up until cutoff for us to be re-approached, and we would have brought it back up, and we didn’t get asked to do that, so it didn’t get brought back up.”
Friday, March 4, was the last day to pass most opposite chamber bills by 5 p.m.
For his part, Wilcox leaned into the comments by Jinkins.
“I don’t disagree with her characterization of the conversation,” he said, explaining that it was Jinkins’ prerogative to think “30 minutes is too long to talk about emergency powers reform” and the bill’s four proposed amendments.
“We wanted to talk about it,” Wilcox said of Republicans, noting the decision to essentially doom the legislation was up to Jinkins and Democrats who dominate both chambers of the legislature.
At the press conference, Democrat Emily Randall, sponsor of SB 5909, expressed her dismay that the bill didn’t advance.
“It’s disappointing to me we weren’t able to get what I really feel is a well-reasoned and well-balanced approach to the emergency power adjustments that our constituents by and large across the state asked for us to make,” she said of legislation widely viewed as emergency powers reform in name only. “It was something folks from both parties and both chambers have been wanting us to do, and it is disappointing, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t come back again in the future.”
This article was originally posted on Speaker Jinkins says Republicans talked emergency powers reform to death