Looks like a payday lending ordinance was delayed for a week at Houston City Council by Andrew Burks and Jerry Davis today after they tagged it, as reported by Laurie Johnson at KUHF today. The bigger story is how it might be tagged again next week because CM James Rodriguez was absent this week.
Mustafa Tameez is a political analyst who knows the ins and outs of City Hall.
“When something comes for a vote on city council, councilmembers have the right to tag that and what that means is that the vote is delayed for a week while they get further information. If a councilmember is not present during that tag, they have a right to tag it the following week.”
And that’s where things get interesting.
This is probably a good time to point out that Tameez has a horse in this race: he’s a consultant for the coalition of organizations that want to pass the new regulations.
“The rumors in City Hall are that Councilmember James Rodriguez wasn’t here today because it gives him the ability to tag this next week when he’s here.”
“And what does that mean?”
“Well, next week’s meeting is the last meeting for city council this year. And as of next year, there’ll be a whole new city council. The industry doesn’t have the votes to oppose this payday lending ordinance, and so there are rumors running rampant around city hall that this is a tactic being used. It’s a Washington D.C.-style tactic.”
Rodriguez who has been quite vocal against the ordinance had this reaction.
“It’s a councilmember’s prerogative to tag items, it always has been.
The Mayor, though, states she’ll pass it one way or another.
“He has the ability — through procedural moves — to throw it into the next calendar year. But I fully expect to have it passed in January if it doesn’t pass this calendar year.”
So, if Rodriguez delays it again next week, rather than allow an up or down vote, it won’t be up again until January 8.
Oh, to be a payday lending lobbyist at Christmas time.
Texpatriate has more.