Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Streaming History

I'm watching the Tennessee House Session via streaming video. Nice feature is when you click on the session to watch it the pop up window also includes a copy of the agenda.

I missed Maury Davis of Nashville's Cornerstone Church giving the invocation.

They're currently calling the roll to verify a quorum.

Tn Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder is swearing in the members now.

In the meantime the Democrats are still running the House. Temporary rules. Rep. Gary Odom (D-Nashville) moves that the House should stand in recess until 1:00, Turner seconds. The shouts of objection are loud. Rep. Jason Mumpower (R-Bristol) is recognized by (Speaker for now) Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) and objects. Odom wants the recess for family photos. Mumpower asserts that the recess is unusual and calls for the order of the day. Odom prevails with the following vote totals. AC Kleinheider at the Nashville Post reports it was new legislator Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) who crossed party lines to vote for the recess. Was it deliberate or accidental? Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) blogs it was a rookie mistake. She may have cost Republicans the majority.

Back from recess. Nominations for Speaker is the next order of business. Rep. Charles Sargent is nominating Rep. Mumpower. Rep. Susan Lynn (R-Mt. Juliet) seconds. Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) immediately moves for closing of nomination. Odom objects and asks to approach the Well. Casada calls for rules of order and objects.

Odom wants to nominate someone and declares it improper to close nominations after only one nomination. "Let's hold a fair election." I have a nomination I'd like to make Mr. Speaker.

Naifeh asserts he doesn't know that Odom wants to nominate anyone (I don't believe it). and declares Casada's motion is out of order. Mumpower rises to challenge Naifeh's ruling. He's called Odom and Mumpower up to the front for a conversation off microphone. They're now calling in legal.

Gentlemen....let's just go to the tape. Casada has a motion, that according to Naifeh has been seconded, vote on the motion to close nominations. But somehow...like the bad call in Saturday's Titan's game where delay of game was overlooked...what was said and heard doesn't matter.

Naifeh recognizes Mumpower who withdraws the challenge.

Odom approaches the Well to nominate (the Republicans did it from the floor but Odom has to got down front). Odom says his nominee is known for "Putting people above partianship" gets laughter. Odom nominates Rep. Kent Williams (R-Elizabethton) !

Rep. Mike Turner (D-Nashville) moves to close nominations and it passes.

Roll call vote with Democrat names being called first. The clerk pauses after the Democrats and looks to Naifeh for direction. Naifeh tells him to continue with the vote. You can't hear the votes called out. When Williams votes there is cheering.

Vote: 50 Williams Mumpower 49. Booing and clapping as Naifeh tries to get order and Naifeh calls Williams to the front for the swearing in by Justice Holder.

I'm stunned but still not really surprised that Naifeh managed to pull this off. The man was too quiet. Everyone suspected he had something up his sleeve. I don't think anyone anticipated this.

What is it about 'Republicans' named Williams???

Williams: I've been booed before. I'm a Republican for not much longer. Today comes the end of the reign of a great speaker, Jimmy Naifeh (he's got the reign part right). Today I realize the disappointment and hurt of a lot of members of my party, especially our leader Jason Mumpower. But today isn't about Kent Williams or Speaker Jimmy Naifeh or Jason Mumpower. It's now about Republicans and Democrats but it's about change. ... Committee appointments will be based on seniority and ability. Ability being more important.

Williams designates Naifeh to 'finish out the session'. Groans.

Election of Speaker Pro Tempore: Rep. Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar) nominates Rep. Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis) calling her "a virtuous woman". (This is NOT change. She's had this job for quiet some time.)

Mumpower rises to ask for a 30 minute caucus to determine their nominee until 2:15. Mike Turner declares the Democrats will also meet. (Wonder in which room Williams will spend the break.)

AC Kleinheider has this from GOP Party Chair Robin Smith:

“Kent Williams has betrayed his constituents and the people of Carter County in breaking his pledge - his signed oath - to vote for the nominee of the Republican caucus for Speaker of the House. He lied, in a quest for personal power, in league with Democrat Speaker Jimmy Naifeh and House Minority Leader Gary Odom, in their desire to retain power despite the results of the 2008 elections.”
2:30 back from recess. Naifeh calls the groups back into session. Williams is standing next to him. Back to election of Speaker Pro-Tempore. Rep. Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville) rises to nominate Rep. Beth Harwell-Halteman (R-Nashville) . Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville) seconds. (Good choice by the Republicans) Rep. Joe McCord (R-Maryville) calls for end to nominations. Roll call vote. Democrats first. Clerk Durham accidentally skipped two legislators and had to go back and catch up.

DeBerry 50 Harwell 49. Even more disappointing. And so Justice Holder swears in DeBerry and she keeps her former position. "I will continue to do the very best job I can" and "In the words of our leadership team 12 years ago, you cannot make this stuff up".

Williams takes control of the meeting and appoints the list Naifeh coaches him on for various House Officer positions. Williams asks at one point what the first name is. He's appointed committees to report to the Governor and the Senate that the House is ready for business and will recess until those committee's accomplish that bit of formality.

Unaware that the microphone is open Williams comments to Naifeh: "It's a good thing I've got thick skin."

Rep. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) is recognized and asks if Naifeh was Speaker for the day or not. Williams "Do you have a problem with me being Speaker?" Kelsey pauses and says yes. There is clearly some irritation in Williams voice over being called to clarify his previous words about Naifeh finishing out the session as Speaker. It's a reasonable question and considering the fact that Naifeh is at Williams' right elbow, whispering directions and pointing to items on papers on the lectern it might just be more efficient for Williams to let Naifeh 'finish out the session'.

McCord is recognized and moves for adjournment. At Naifeh's suggestion Williams asks McCord to withdraw the motion. Back and forth. 10 minute recess is granted to McCord in lieu of a full recess.

3:15 back in session. Audit committee is announced. Todd thanks folks for their support during his knee surgery. Cooper calls for a meeting of the Black Caucus. Caseda wants to know what is being done by about the joint meeting about constitutional Officers. The clerk informs the Speaker that the senate paperwork is on the desk awaiting House action. Maddox rises and also thanks folks for their support after the death of his brother. He also announces the group that Rep. Les Winningham's (D-Huntsville) wife is at death's door and asks for a moment of silence for her. It's SERIOUS business when a man feels compelled to leave his wife's bedside to ensure his party stays in power. Caseda asks about the time frame on the joint committee. Odom is recognzied and says it'll be handled Thursday. The Clerk reads the Senate paperwork and says the meeting is tomorrow. McCord is recognized and asks if they'll be a two or three week break tomorrow so folks can plan. Speaker says he'll let them know after meeting with leadership.

Introduction of resolutions...yadda, yadda

Turner says they'll be a Democratic Press press conference immediately after adjournment.

Suddenly, a roll call vote. Williams needs to remember he's in front of a live microphone. 99 members present.

It was a historic meeting to be sure. It clear, to me, that nothing has changed. Republicans anticipated a tough battle this session as a result of the fiscal trouble they would have inherited. The battle is still going to be tough but the field has certainly changed. I would encourage the House Republicans to stand firm and fight for every hill available.

I'm thankful for the Senate's larger majority which will be necessary in order to, as in previous sessions, keep the House restrained.

The House is in recess until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

In the hour it took me to clean up this post and include hyperlinks the House webmasters have already updated Speaker Williams' web page.

However, Rep. Naifeh's page still shows him holding the Speaker's gavel. I believe that's going to be the case throughout this session.


Toni said...

Kay - great job on your write up of today's events. I think you caught things going on that I missed and I was there. Thanks for the roundup.

Bear Creek Ledger

NightSapper said...

What an incredible weasel Williams is. No wonder the GOP is self destructing in so many places, if all it can do is depend on they loyalty and competence of a rube like Williams.

If I were back in Tn, I'd be digging up ways to recall this dishonest turncoat.

Kay Brooks said...

Toni: Thanks. The advantage of being home watching I suppose. I'm sure I'd have been distracted by a dozen things if I'd been there in person.

NightSapper: Come back to help anytime. :-)