Private Option Funding Fails Second Vote in House


Another day, another vote, another failure to pass the Private Option. In fact, there were fewer 'yes' votes Wednesday, 68, than there were yesterday, 70. That's mostly due to the fact that four representatives chose not to vote and one voted present. The Private Option did pick up one vote from Rep. Fred Smith (G) who didn't vote on Tuesday.{}Representative Bob Ballinger spoke in opposition to the bill. He has proposed an amendment that some say would in effect end the Private Option because the waiver it requests from the federal government would likely be denied. Ballinger said that he believed Speaker Davy Carter would negotiate if presented with a good option. Speaker Carter disagreed with Ballinger's assessment. {}{}"Respectfully, the negotiations are over, and I meant what I said. I don't know to be any more clear than that. We're not going to pass substantive laws with a minority of the membership. That's not how this works. That's not how this has ever worked. And, its not how it's going to work in the future," said Carter.Even after those words from Carter, Ballinger said he still has faith that Carter will go back to the negotiating table. He also said some Democrats have indicated they would be willing to talk as well.That's in direct contradiction to Minority Leader Greg Leding's take on the current situation."Our caucus feels like it has gone above and beyond as far as compromising on the condition that it would get the job done, and clearly we're not there yet. So, now we're considering our options and looking at some appropriations that we might hold up for a while," said Leding.Tuesday, Democrats held up the one appropriation bill in Joint Budget Committee which designated money for the Secretary of State's Office. Leding said Democrats are considering other bills, as well. In particular, he is eyeing the controversial Voter ID law that passed last year.{}Leding also said if the amendment sponsored by Nate Bell did not garner more Republican votes as he was led to believe it would, he and other Democrats would not support the amendments.