You did it.
HB910, licensed open carry, has passed its final major vote before heading to Governor Abbott’s desk, thought a (hopefully) uneventful concurrence vote will take place first in the House.
Please call Rep. Phillips, Senator Estes, Senator Huffines, and Senator Birdwell to thank them for pushing this necessary bill.
However, this was a bill that the establishment fought hard to kill, and the fight was illuminating. See here. In a nutshell:
- When HB910 came to a floor vote in the house, Rep. Dutton sought to amend the bill, adding a “no stop-and-frisk” provision that would keep law enforcement from asking to see the license of a person because they were carrying a weapon. The “Dutton Amendment” was approved, and the amended bill was passed and sent to the Senate.
- Last Monday, in the Senate State Affairs committee hearing, Sen. Joan Huffman (R – Houston) sought to strip the Dutton Amendment from the bill. The committee agreed to this. The Dutton Amendment was removed and this new version of the bill went to the full Senate. This meant that if the bill was passed, it would have to be sent back to the House for another vote, because the Senate’s version was now different than that passed by the House.
- On Friday, HB910 came up to the full senate for debate. But first, freshman Senator Don Huffines proposed to amend HB910 to re-add the Dutton Amendment from the floor. An epic debate followed, where other senators– including Sen. Huffman and Sen. John Whitmire (D – Houston)– tried to convince Sen. Huffines to withdraw the amendment. Yet Huffines stood his ground, and the debate went well into the night. At the end of the day, HB910 passed with the Dutton Amendment intact, 20 – 11. Sen. Joan Huffman was the sole Republican “nay” vote on the final vote.
- Many thought the bill should have then gone straight to Governor Abbott’s desk to be signed into law. Unfortunately, it turns out that it must go back to the House for a concurrence vote or possibly a conference committee. Some believed this to be the result of a “clerical error” that caused the House and Senate versions of the Dutton Amendment to be slightly different. Others say this was inevitable because Sen. Huffman insisted on the committee substitute version last Monday during the State Affairs hearing. Either way, HB910 is scheduled as “eligible” for a vote at 2:40PM today.
Though most supporters remain optimistic, many are concerned with all of the procedural wrangling with only one week remaining in the legislative session.
Final House Vote on Campus Carry This Week
SB17, Campus Concealed Carry, is now on the Major State Calendar for today, Tuesday, May 26. This should be an epic battle. Watch the debate here. There are other bills to consider as well, so SB17 will probably not be first on the agenda when the House convenes at 10:00AM.
If there is any question as to where your Representative stands on SB17, call them now! and politely ask that they vote for SB17 without any amendments. If SB17 is amended, it will have to make another (unlikely) trip back through the Senate with little time remaining in the session. If the House passes a “clean” bill, it will go to the Governor’s desk.