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An Update on What the “W” Stands For contends that her group didn’t receive any favored treatment. “Our mission is very pure,” she said. “[The foundation] is connected to an office, not a person. Our work is for the state of Texas, not the governor.” SOMETHING’S FISHY You’ve probably never heard of House Bill 899. It’s an inconsequential billone of thousands floating through the Texas Legislature’s 80th Session. HB 899 should have slid quietly into state statute. And it probably would have, if not for the events of May 3which neatly illustrate how the Texas House operates under Speaker Tom Craddick \(RHB 899 slightly alters the section of the occupational code dealing with the Texas Board of Professional Engineers. Not exactly front-page material. But the state’s engineers and architects have been bickering over the bill for months. On May 3, the Senate-passed version of HB 899 landed back in the the author of the bill, concurred with the Senate’s changes. The House passed a final version, and HB 899 was on its way to the governor’s desk. That should have been the end of it. But later that day, Smith was called into the hall behind the House chamber for a meeting with Craddick and the speaker’s chief of staff, Nancy Fisher. In the back hall, Fisher threw a fit, according to several sources. She pleaded with Smith to take HB 899 to a House-Senate conference committee. Why was Fisher so adamant about such a minor bill? It seems the architects didn’t like the Senate changes to HB 899, which slightly favored the engineers. And Fisher’s husband is an architect. She’s married to Bruce Weira registered architect, according to public records. Smith wasn’t going to put up a fight on such a minor bill. He relented and took HB 899 back before the House later on May 3. This time, following Smith’s suggestion, the House voted to appoint a conference committee. As the Observer went to press, the conference committee had yet to agree on a final bill. Asked about the incident, Smith confirmed the sequence of events and the meeting with Fisher. But he said he considered Fisher’s objections simply part of the legislative process. He said many people often provide input on his bills. “It sounds to me like someone is trying to place blame [on Fisher], and I’m not going to do that,” Smith said. “That’s all part of the process.” Craddick spokeswoman Alexis DeLee said she couldn’t comment directly on the matter. But she added that Fisher isn’t the only one following the issue. “We have been inundated with letters 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JUNE 1, 2007