AG's Opinion Sought on Craddick Strong-Arm Tactics in Texas House

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AUSTIN (AP) - Two Republican legislators on Monday asked the Texas
attorney general to weigh in on GOP House Speaker Tom Craddick's handling of a coup attempt.

Representatives Jim Keffer of Eastland and Byron Cook of Corsicana are asking Attorney General Greg Abbott for an opinion on Craddick's parliamentary rulings.

Several lawmakers -- near the end of the session last month -- tried to make a parliamentary motion that would have allowed the House to vote to oust Craddick.

But Craddick cited "absolute authority" and refused to acknowledge any lawmaker to make such a motion.

Craddick, whose term expires in January of 2009, didn't immediately respond Monday.

Keffer -- who's filed to replace Craddick as speaker -- says the ntegrity of the Texas House is at a critical crossroads.

Legal interpretation of the rules led two House parliamentarians to step down, when Craddick ignored their opinions. Both were replaced with Craddick supporters.