SB 408 Telecom Frankenbill is Dead

I recently wrote about how Rep. King tried to attach his bad telecom bills as amendments to SB 408, the otherwise innocuous PUC sunset bill, thus creating a dangerous telecom frankenbill. The problem is that when you start monkeying with a bill in this way you risk that it can be killed with a parliamentary maneuver called a "point of order." That's exactly what happened today.

Soon after the changes were passed out of committee, Rep. King started backpedaling. Presumably not because he was swayed by good policy arguments, but because of this risk. The muni network ban was removed. The local cable franchise killer remained, albeit changed to try to make it more germane to the bill topic, and thus reduce the risk of a point of order.

Turns out that was not sufficient. A point of order was raised, claiming that the bill did not match the analysis. The chair sustained the point of order so now the bill is dead.

Points of order often are driven more by politics than technicalities. There was widespread displeasure at what Rep. King did. Sen. Shapiro, the original bill sponsor, was reportedly livid over the changes. These circumstances created ripe conditions for the chair to sustain the point of order, thus killing the bill.

(Note: The muni network ban lives on in HB 789.)

May 19 update: This article points out that the bill is not technically dead, but rather goes back to committee to be fixed. This late in the session, that's nearly as good as dead.

May 19 second update: Aw crap. The bill is alive. I'm hearing that King stripped two of three provisions he added, leaving in the provision that kills local video franchises, and rushed it back to the House to be scheduled for a vote.