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Broadway legend Channing sings to House; curtains down on HB2, HB3?

By J. Lyn Carl,

Austin, TX –

And now, in the Texas House Chamber - Carol Channing.

"Well, helloooooooooooo, Dolly..."

Can things get any more bizarre?

Oh, I guess...if you can call Rep. Jim Dunnam's (D-Waco) question of Rep. Todd Baxter (R-Austin), in the speaker's chair, bizarre.

After more than an hour of standing around, being sung to by a Broadway legend and hearing probably the shortest opening prayer in House history, Dunnam approached the back microphone to ask what the holdup was on floor debate. After all, two major pieces of legislation related to public school finance - which is supposed to be what the Second Called Session is all about - were scheduled for floor debate today. What are we doing, he asked Baxter.


And for what?

Well, for members to show up.


This does not bode well for HBs 2 and 3, the public school reform bill and the accompanying property tax reduction bill.

It seemed like deja vu all over again today...after the Senate had a similar episode in its chamber Monday - with a slightly longer prayer and no singing - and an abrupt halt to the proceedings when Sen. Florence Shapiro (R-Plano) practically announced she didn't have the votes to suspend the rules to take up her own version of the school reform bill, SB 2.

Whispers of "sine die" are echoing throughout the capitol. Rumor is that during the Senate caucus on Monday, that was actually discussed as an option.

As one outsider who isn't involved in the legislature (except for what he reads in the newspapers and sees on TV) offered, "They seem to like the fight. Like a bunch of brain dead boxers."

Go to your corners and if we can ever find the bell (and the missing members), Round One could start soon.

Or not.