Points of Order on CSSB 4 (Sanctuary Cities)

By my count, there were 12 separate attempts to either kill the bill itself or a proposed amendment. Only one of them, against an amendment, was successful. The good news is that all of these attempts provide many opportunities for rule clarifications. Section numbers in the following bullet points refer to sections in the Handbook.

  • §4.5 The sworn statement of witness is incomplete: A witness leaving off their street number, even if they did not leave a phone number, is not a defect. While the rule requires enough information to contact a witness, the Chair will not verify if the information is correct. 85 H.J. Reg. 1848 (2017).

  • §4.2 The committee minutes are incomplete: If a meeting begins improperly and the chair begins again to ensure compliance with the rules, actions taken in the first attempted meeting are not technically actions of the committee and therefore do not need to be recorded in the minutes. 85 H.J. Reg. 1852 (2017).

  • §4.1 The bill analysis is incorrect: Although the bill analysis "could have been more helpful and informative" on the accelerated appeals process in the bill, "it did not deceive or mislead" and therefore was not subject to a point of order. 85 H.J. Reg. 1868 (2017).

  • The interpreters used during the public hearing were not "qualified": This was the only point of order from that day that cannot be found in the Handbook. Representative Lucio argued that, because Rule 4, Section 13(a) states that hearings are governed by the rules of evidence and procedure in civil court, interpreters must be qualified, as they are in civil cases. The chair held that this rule was added as part of a nonsubstantive revision of the rules that has minimal to no impact on the work of the house because applying rules of civil cases would be "difficult and possibly nonsensical." 85 H.J. Reg. 1871 (2017).

  • §3.1 The committee substitute is not germane to the original bill: The addition of laws related to surety bonds on individuals who are subject to federal detainer requests is germane to the bill because the bill deals broadly with the enforcement of immigration laws by local governmental entities. 85 H.J. Reg. 1890 (2017).

  • §3.6 The amendment is not germane to the bill: The committee substitute would have used civil penalties collected under the bill for the compensation to victims of crime fund. An amendment changed that to use the civil penalties towards defense costs for persons impacted by the bill. The amendment to the amendment changed the use of civil penalties again, this time to fund alternatives to abortion. The chair held that the committee substitute and the first amendment directed the use of funds collected to an item the subject of the bill; the amendment to the amendment did not. The point of order was sustained. 85 H.J. Reg. 1925 (2017).

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© 2017 by Kevin Stewart