Friday, April 15, 2005

High drama with the Nekritz bike bill

A long goal of bicyclists has been to ensure that all roads are intended for bikes and for cars. Share the road and all that. Elaine Nekritz has emerged as the bicyclists' champion and had her bill up today. The Municipal League and the City have been pushing hard to kill the bill and yesterday when the bill earned 60 votes, the oponents called for a verification. That means the clerk reads off the name of every rep who voted yes to see if they are actually in the room. Lots of times a staffer or a friendly rep will vote for a rep who is out in the hall or in a meeting. Well, there were only 59 people that were verified yesterday, so when Representative Parke called for a verification, the drama began. Were there in fact 60 people there? The pressure was on. And slowly, each of 60 names were intoned. There are only a few minutes that a rep is allocated, and in that heavy silence, Representative Parke commented that there's a lot of attendance today. . . . .And was a rep who committed to Nekritz going to take a walk out of the House to kill the bill? It has been done before as a way to avoid saying no to either side. But the time slipped away and the members began a countdown with how many seconds left Rep. Parke had to find a yes vote who was not in his or her seat. 'five, four, three, two, one' the crowfd chanted and with nothing left to do but accept the inevitable, Parke conceded with 'say it.' And the Speaker said 'with 60 voting yes. . .' Fun stuff.

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