8:00 p.m.    


Until committees are assigned in the House and the Senate in a few weeks, work done in the two chambers will be largely procedural and ceremonial rather than substantive. The Senate was expected to take up its operating rules today, but has delayed consideration for at least a week. The traditional "two-thirds rule" will likely be challenged; this policy ensures that a bill will not be brought up for debate without the support of at least 2/3 of the Senate. Since Senate Democrats have just enough votes to block consideration, at least one Republican senator has proposed elimination of the rule. However, since the 2/3 rule provides protection on issues that do not break down on partisan lines, such as urban vs. rural matters, there may not be sufficient support to eliminate the policy. Instead, changes may be made to allow for easier consideration of a couple of partisan issues, such as voter ID and redistricting.    


The TCTA lobby team spent the day making the rounds at the Capitol, informing legislators and staff about our upcoming TCTA lobby day (Feb. 3, in conjunction with the TCTA annual convention on Feb. 4-5) and providing information about our legislative priorities for the session. We were reminded, as always, that even though the session is already underway, these early days are a great time for our members to make contact with their elected officials. They're not yet swamped with the business of the session, and everyone's still in a good mood! Establishing a good working relationship now will make it that much easier to get their attention when you need it later in the session. E-mail the TCTA legislative department at legislative@tcta.org if you'd like some tips on contacting your legislators.