Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Galvano relies on Jefferson to learn he can't subpoena senators



In the wake of the decision this morning by the House Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct  to issue subpoenas for the Feb. 22 hearing involving former House Speaker Ray Sansom, the committee chairman did a little research.

Rep. Bill Galvano turned to a 1854 copy of Thomas Jefferson's Manual of Parliamentary Practice, and discovered that well, never mind, they won't be sending subpoenas to Sens. Don Gaetz, Mike Haridopolos, Dennis Jones and Joe Negron, all Republicans. They'll simply have to ask them to cooperate, and voluntarily appear.

Jefferson writes that "either House may request but not command the attendance of a member of the other. ...They are to make the request by message to the other House and express the purpose of attendance. ...The House then gives leave to attend if he chooses to attend.'' A cleaner version of the rule is outlined in Mason's Manuel of Legislative Procedure. Galvano, as House Rules Committee chairman, told the Times/Herald that he relies on both books often, as they provide the foundation for the House's rules.

"They're on a list, and we wanted to procedurally not hamstring either party to come back on the eve of the hearing and say they didn't have an opportunity to subpoena this person or that person,'' Galvano said. "We're not going to get in a match over this stuff with them. We'll work with them to cooperate. I think they'll cooperate.''

He said the list of potential witnesses will depend on the issues in the hearing. "The list doesn't mean these people will testify. We still have to determine the relevance of their testimony.''


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:18pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours