Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Filibuster Ends in House But Senate Shuts Down Once More

One week after the filibuster in the House began, bills are moving again - for now! The House will convene again tomorrow at 4:00 at which time the grocery tax bill will be the first item for discussion on the agenda. If the bill fails to pass, it would be reasonable to expect another filibuster in the House.

Whereas the House is at work late this afternoon, the Senate shut down around 3:45 due to a disagreement over a bill relating to rural telephone service, SB 373. Senator Barron brought an amendment to the bill which he said would prevent companies from raising rates on rural customers. Senator Beason also brought an amendment which he stated would accomplish this. After much discussion, Senator Barron's amendment was not adopted, so he began a filibuster with enough support from fellow senators to keep it going.

With the Senate at a stalemate, a motion to adjourn was made. The Senate will reconvene at 1:00 tomorrow.

Filibuster End in Sight? Not So

Shortly after the House convened at 1:00, a small glimmer of hope that the filibuster would end today was shorted lived.

Representative Knight stated, “I know how important the grocery tax is but also realize we are midway through the session and in order to accomplish what is necessary we can’t stop work. I am working and will continue to work with anyone who would like to come with a compromise for removing sales tax on groceries.”

While Representative Knight was ready to concede, his colleague, Representative Thomas took a different perspective. He pointed out that this is not the first year Representative Knight has worked on the issue of removing the grocery tax, and within two years he believed something could have been fashioned to lift the taxes off of poor people. He declared that as far as he was concerned nothing is so important on this calendar that is paramount to this legislation – with the exception of the budgets which are not ready for consideration at this point.

Responding to Rep. Thomas, Rep. Knight said, “If I shall die trying to take the sales tax off of groceries then so be it”

Representative Thomas blames Republicans for no movement taking place toward a compromise. There was word last week that Republicans were preparing an alternative grocery tax bill; however, no bill has been presented as of today.

And the filibuster continues…