How a Bill Really Becomes a Law, Part 1

by , Apr 16, 2007 | 6:05 am

Or not … our beloved little HB 3186 still has a ways to go. But we are “this much closer” to legal-better poker in Texas … at a minimum, people in the law business are becoming more and more familiar with our “issues” … and an increasing number of political bidders are looking at dollar signs (and calculating implied pot odds) on an unusual bill that has, let’s say, 75 percent public support …

Here is the testimony presented earlier this month for and against legalized Texas poker to the legislative committee charged with making the first rounds of decisions about this bill. You will find it either totally boring or C-Span fascinating … and if you’re in the latter camp, you’ll probably hear much that you find encouraging. Listen closer, however, and you may get a sense that some hardline politicking has only just begun:

House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee
Austin, TX – 4/3/07


0:01 — Rep. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) updates committee on changes to the bill, gives background on underground Texas poker

3:35 — Letting the Indians in on the action

4:40 — Constitutional amendment not required, Attorney General says

5:20 — Summation of the bill

6:00 — How the licensing will work, how the rake will work, and how much the state stands to make

7:45 — Special housing assistance for seniors and veterans

9:05 — Too many people show up to speak on poker’s behalf

9:20 — Willing to prevent alcohol from being served for free in poker rooms? “Absolutely”

9:45 — 76 votes = $150 million

* * *

10:30 — Texas Eagle Forum, against the bill, not present to testify

13:20 — Longtime Libertarian Rock Howard … poker provides teaches anger management, stops road rage, extends lives

15:40 — A teacherly Vernon Harrison, Texas Card Players Association, explains why Texans need more than just home games

17:45 — Rob Kohler, Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, opposing the bill on grounds that poker requires a Constitutional amendment because sometimes you get a 2 … and it’s not socially acceptable like Bingo

21:30 — Rep. Ismael “Kino” Flores (D-Palmview) entertains himself and crowd by ripping Kohler a new one for his position on Bingo supremacy

23:15 — Chris Jones, veteran Houston police officer and lobbyist for CLEAT … personally in support of the bill … admits that lots of cops like to play

25:00 — Flores yuks it up with the pro-poker crowd, semi-jokingly seeks support for his VLT’s-in-horse-tracks bill, pokes at Menendez by calling him “Melendez.” NOTE: Weak means strong?

* * *

25:30 — Lyle Berman on bringing the World Poker Tour (and associated economic activity) to Texas … explains technicalities of Indian Tribe classifications and the game-of-skill concept … Flores inquires about a friendly game before mocking Rep. Carl Isett (R-Lubbock), the lone committee member clearly opposed to the bill

30:00 — Clonie Gowen says yea poker! Speaks of her experiences in the Dallas underground and the need to protect players

31:15 — Hall of Famer Crandell Addington (sent as Doyle Brunson’s emissary) on poker’s roots in Texas and taking the game to Nevada in the 1960s and its evolution beyond the law … detailed explanation of skill vs. chance/flop percentages

37:10 — Michele Lewis … kids with cancer need charity poker to help fill in budget gaps created by cuts in state funding … women need to feel safe — from guns and over-raking … create jobs!

41:10 — Michael Bolcerek, president of the PPA, speaking on behalf of 20,000 Texas members

43:20 — Dan Michalski, blogger/consultant … on how charities are crippled because of a legal quirk in how the game currently has to be played. Nothing revolutionary, just looking to make poker akin to fishing/golf so we can stop looking stupid

47:20 — Menendez closes up after a long day and night … “Here we are as a state, in effect condoning illegal gambling because we’re not willing to regulate what we already have”

Hey! I’m serious, man. We’re talkin’ poker here!

* * *

Stay tuned for “How a Bill Really Becomes a Law, Part 2” …

PRESSING FLESH on 6TH STREET (L to R) Lavigne in Austin, Brad Beats,
Clonie, random girl, Erick Lindgren, and Sweet Texas Jimmy.

10 Comments to “How a Bill Really Becomes a Law, Part 1”

  1. Fresh Princess

    Is that Paris Hilton in the bar photo?

  2. J.E.H.

    Look, Clonie’s hot no matter what. Don’t get me wrong. But she’s far, far hotter as a blonde. Was the hair color change conditioned upon losing a prop bet or something?

  3. Lavigne in Austin

    she kinda did look like paris…only she seemed AT LEAST 10% smarter.

  4. DanM

    She got rid of a boyfriend … that’s how/why the hair changed.

  5. Anonymous Asshole

    Either way (boyfriend or no boyfriend dumping), she is still far hotter as a blonde 🙂 I concur with J.E.H.

    Brunettes, however, can be taken more seriously or so I have been told. I’ve seen it first hand with a gorgeous associate (different group at work.) Hell, I didn’t even recognize her as a brunette but I hadn’t seen her in nearly 10 months and she was wearing a “figure flattering” dress that night.


  6. Fresh Princess

    You girls are so bad! I’m backing Clonie as a brunette. And yes, I’m biased.

  7. DanM

    I am glad to know that this post about “historic” political undertakings has inspired such vigorous discourse on Clonie’s hair. Never underestimate the power of a Pokeratizen to lower the bar.

    Seriously … you girls ARE bad. You all need spankings.

  8. Fresh Princess

    No, seriously, where the heck have you been?

    And BTW, you should have had your grandma testify.

  9. Pokerati | Texas hold’em blog » Blog Archive » Citizen Poker

    […] know what they are talking about. This became clear when the Baptist lobbyist guy got his ass handed back to him by the legislative committee of elected representatives charged with hearing his point of view. If […]

  10. Sean Gunnells

    The first time I ever played Chinese Poker was with Clonie and Eric at the Capitol… actually it was a hotel close by, but it was quite a thrill. I scooped the first hand, thought I was the man, then they ran over me for the next hour!