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PI, continued from page 13 The duo learned the importance of the rules while working for former first openly gay representative, Maxey found himself shunned by his colleagues. He learned that the quickest way to become a player was to master the rules. Republican leaders might call the duo obstructionists. Brady and Isgur don’t see it that way. “It is not obstructionist when you are trying to make sure the law is being followed:’ says Isgur. This session Republicans provided plenty of opportunity to question the process. A first-time House speaker himself, Craddick had also appointed a record number of new committee chairmen. They shepherded a radical and sweeping agenda through the Lege. Their ignorance of procedure led to a multiplicity of errors. To make matters worse, the House Parliamentarian Steve Collins, whose job is to help the Speaker determine what is within the rules, was himself new on the job. A classic and defining early example of a Dunnam point of orderin which the Brazos Partnership assistedoccurred during the debate on House Bill 4, the omnibus tort reform legislation. On March 20th, Dunnam called a point of order that a quorum of the House Civil Practices Committee had held a secret meeting to discuss the bill. It smacked of a return to the bad old days before former Speaker Pete Laney \(D-Hale Dunnam’s objection cut to the heart of why rules are important: They preserve ideals such as allowing the public to oversee its government. Craddick and Collins agonized for hours before ruling on the point of order. They knew it was valid, but the legislation was the number one priority of big-money Republican backers. Craddick even tried to dodge his responsibility, indicating he would put the decision on whether to accept the point of the order to a vote of the full House, where Republicans had the votes to defeat it, rather than make the call himself. Ultimately, the Speaker chose to uphold it. The House Civil Practices committee then immediately met around the chairman’s desk on the House floor in a “public hearing” and sent the bill back to the Calendars Committee. In a number of cases where the issue was not as blatant as a secret meeting, Craddick simply overruled a point of order that Brady and Isgur believe in the past would have been sustained. Most of the duo’s victories proved fleeting in the face of the Republican juggernaut. A point of order stripped an effort to defund Planned Parenthood out of the appropriations bill but the leadership simply found a new home for it. An effort to stop a bill that would outlaw conserving water in rivers kept on bouncing back like an inflatable clown. By the end of the session, Dunnam, with Brady and Isgur’s help, forced the Republican leadership to demonstrate that they value their radical agenda more than following the rules. In doing so, the Dems put the Republicans on notice that the Texas Legislature won’t be forced back to the days of backroom deals without a struggle. “It’s all about protecting us from going back to the time when things were done totally in secret:’ says Isgur. Griffin, continued from page 9 door, stepped out and closed it. She watched him hunch his shoulders against the drizzle and start away. “Flamart!” someone called. The stone mason turned and peered up the narrow sidewalk. Almost immediately Mademoiselle saw Durand, the book shop owner, as fat and pink-cheeked as ever, stride into view beneath his black umbrella. “You going to the cafe?” she heard Flamart ask as the two shook hands there only a few inches in front of her window. “Yes, but I’ve got to piss first,” Durand announced affably. Mademoiselle, though invisible behind the rain-pocked glass, instinctively moved further behind the statue of St. Joseph. Honestly, that Durand. He didn’t care how he talked. You’d think, Mademoiselle told herself, that dealing in books would exert a refining influence on a man. But not Durand. Gossip had it he was gross in his dealings with women. Absently she watched the two men angle across the street to the public urinal. Let’s see, there would be six women at the meeting, counting herself, plus Father Trissotin. \(The leaves were almost gone from the trees on the boulevard, she observed sadly, as she watched Durand hand Flamart his umbrella, glance up at the dripping trees and start unbuttoning even before he stepped cookies and tarts would be enough. But still that lard-tub of a Madame Ponneger was one more gluttona sure sign of fanaticism, she observed. But no, it wasn’t her responsibility to fill that cavern. Two dozen cookies would have to do. “May I go now, Mademoiselle? I’ve finished,” Claudine called from the shadows. “Yes, but first run downstairs and put one bucket of coal in the furnace. Then turn on the radiator upstairs in my salon.” Across the street, the milkman’s twowheeled cart, pulled by a wolf-like dog, stopped in front of the Dominican house. Her gaze shifted back to the hazed figure of Flamart who waited patiently for his friend. She saw something pathetic, almost desolate in the scene. Yes, one couldn’t help feeling some passion for Flamart, despite the weakness of his flesh. Now Durand joined him.The bookseller waddled in an awkward semicrouch as he worked with both hands to button his fly. Why they did not but -continued on page 26 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7/4/03