UPDATE: House Dems hold up session over abortion billby Dara Kam | April 29th, 2010
House Democrats stopped bills from moving this morning over a controversial measure that would require all women to have ultrasounds before they can get an abortion.
The Democrats will refuse to take a final vote on any bills today unless Republican leaders promise not to take up and hear the bill, House Democrats spokesman Mark Hollis said.
House GOP leaders need the 44 Democrats’ votes to roll over some bills so that they can be voted on. So far, the Dems have already blocked that from happening on one item.
The Senate yesterday attached the provision to a nursing home bill over objections from Republican women and Democrats and is expected to vote on it this morning. Based on the votes on the amendments yesterday, it (HB 1143) will likely pass.
Prior to the Democratic caucus decision, House Speaker Larry Cretul was ambivalent about whether he would take up the bill.
“We’ll see,” Cretul, R-Ocala, said before he knew about the Democrats’ procedural move. “We’ll at least take a hard look at it.”
UPDATE: Rep. Jim Waldman, a House Democratic leader, had this to say on their refusal to give two-thirds approval to take up bills until they get assurances from GOP leaders they won’t consider an abortion bill.
“We’re up here to do the budget,” Waldman, D-Coconut Creek, told reporters during a lull in House business, thanks to his caucus. “That’s the only thing we need to do.”
He said there’s no reason to take up the abortion bill – stuck in at the last minute in the Senate – while there are more important issues to discuss with just two days left until the session is scheduled to end.
“That’s not what we’re here for. They’re not sending us here to deal with ultrasounds and abortion,” Waldman said.