The 31st Legislature is all but guaranteed to hold the ignoble record of the most days the House has gone without electing a permanent speaker after today’s floor session was canceled.
The move nixes what was already an outside chance that a majority could be formed today and tie the 22-day record set by the star-crossed 1981 House majority (star-crossed because it was also the majority hit with a Midsummer mutiny).
The House is set to return to session on Wednesday, Day 23 of the session, but it’s unlikely that members will formed a majority by then.
Negotiations are underway to form some sort of power-sharing agreement between the 20-partyline Republicans, the 19 members of the Democrat-led House Coalition and the bipartisan-minded Republican Rep. Gary Knopp. The general belief is that a final decision on a majority will have to wait until Feb. 13, the final day that Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy can submit his budget.
The details and scope of the $1.6 billion in cuts and spending reductions planned by the administration are starting to trickle out, but are still largely unknown by the Legislature and public as a whole. And while some Republicans will certainly be on board with the governor’s proposals, there’s already been pushback from many Republicans against such deep cuts.
Far-right Rep. David Eastman pushed for a speaker vote on Monday, pushing for the Republicans’ pick of Rep. Dave Talerico as speaker. The vote failed on a 20-20 line, the same as when the chamber voted on Day 8 for a speaker as required by the Legislature’s uniform rules.
The move was labelled a “stunt” by Rep. Geran Tarr, who said it undercut the good faith negotiations that were underway. Knopp said he had planned to present a deal to Republicans after Monday’s floor session, but said the group canceled the meeting.