The controversial Dutton/Huffines amendment that was virulently opposed by police unions has now been stripped from House Bill 910, the Texas Open Carry bill. Whether that amendment “means anything” is a matter of debate, since some (such as the Senate bill’s author, Estes) say that the amendment wasn’t necessary in the first place; the US Constitution already provides the protections the amendment sought to safeguard. Regardless, the committee has stripped the amendment. Where does that leave the status of Open Carry in Texas? Well . . .
apparently the committee didn’t really have the authority to strip the amendment.
Typically, Texas legislative conference committees are strictly restricted to reconciling the differing language between two versions of a bill, and cannot otherwise add or delete from the bill as passed. Stripping away the amendment appears to be outside the bounds of their authority, and so now it’s entirely possible that both the House and the Senate will have to vote to authorize them to do that.
If the bill succeed in both those votes, then the House and Senate will have to vote on HB 910. Again. If it passes both chambers, it then heads to the Governor’s desk. Meanwhile, speaking of monkey wrenches . . .
State Sen. José Rodríguez [above] told the Texas Tribune today that he plans to filibuster the open carry bill.
Rodríguez was among a coalition of Democrats who amended the bill in the Senate to add the protection against police detainment of open carriers. He now claims he did so because he hoped the provision would become a reason for Gov. Greg Abbott to veto the legislation. “This was a strategy,” he said, using the “I was for it because I was against it” defense.
Go figure. No idea at this time when the four votes mentioned above may be taken. Stay tuned.