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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ind. Law - Geek alert: The third-reading amendment

Niki Kelly has a post at the FWJB Political Notebook that will interest fascinate geeks. It begins:

A rarity on the House floor became all too common Monday night – third reading amendments.

House Speaker Brian Bosma likes to wax poetic about how committees are the workhorse of the legislature, and that is where the real work on bills needs to be done.

Small amendments on second reading are expected, too.

But third-reading amendments require unanimous consent for the body to hear, and usually are only technical in nature.

On Monday night – the last night to pass bills from the House to the Senate – Republicans needed not one, not two, but three substantive third-reading amendments to try to get bills passed.

That’s pretty shocking when you consider Republicans have 69 members and only 51 are needed to pass a bill.

The post goes on to describe the efforts; they all involve making changes to bills at the last minute to try to garner enough votes for passage. For example:
One tax bill by Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, failed to reach a constitutional majority of 51 to either approve or defeat it. So he came back late that evening with a third-reading amendment stripping out the local tax language that many didn’t like.

Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, was in jeopardy of not being able to pass a bill affecting turnaround academies and rewriting the state’s accountability rankings. So he offered a third-reading amendment that stripped out massive portions of the bill and left many confused about what was left. It was ultimately defeated even in a pared-down form.

ILB: I was the majority Senate attorney for a number of sessions and in my experience third reading amendments were hardly ever used, and then it was for a technical correction or some such. Otherwise, you would see just this sort of fiddling with the bill's content on third reading.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 26, 2013 02:52 PM
Posted to Indiana Law