Eleventh hour effort by severance tax supporters to bring up legislation fails

Eleventh hour effort by severance tax supporters to bring up legislation fails

Author: Jason Gottesman/Tuesday, December 12, 2017/Categories: News and Views

A late night effort Tuesday by a bipartisan group of supporters of natural gas severance tax legislation failed to get the constitutional majority needed to call the bill up to continue debate on the amendment process related to the legislation.


While the motion by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) received a majority vote from members present, such a motion requires a constitutional majority of all members seated in the House.


There was robust debate on both sides of the issue.


Supporters of the motion noted that the natural gas severance tax legislation has been languishing in the House for months and the majority has been recalcitrant in their efforts to move the legislation forward to a final vote in the House.


“Under the circumstances, since we cannot have a fair and open debate any other way, we need to use the procedure that the rules provide to bring this question to the floor right now,” said Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery).


Those opposing the move to bring the legislation up said that going around the established procedure for calling up legislation for consideration by the House eviscerates the structure established by the House where the majority caucus controls the calendar.


“I think this operational procedure, although technically allowed within the House rules, is a bad idea,” said House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana).


“Although I happen to be in a position where I have to deal with it tonight, other people will be in this position in the future, and they will rue the day this moved forward. It will set an enormously bad precedent from a procedural perspective, and will greatly hinder the operational side of the House for whoever is in charge in the future.”


Ultimately, the attempt received 100 votes, just shy of the number needed to move the issue to further consideration.


It was unclear Tuesday night whether a similar attempt will be made when the House reconvenes on Wednesday.