Many Texans may be unaware of the current policy in Austin for the Speaker of the House to award committee chairmanships to both the majority and minority parties. Even though Republicans held the majority during the last legislative session, Democrats in Texas were put in charge of 40% of House committees. This is a policy that has been in place for numerous years, but this past year, 81% of Republican voters asked Republicans in the Texas Legislature to end this practice. The State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) passed a Resolution officially requesting this change, as presented in the 2022 Texas GOP Platform.
The vote on this rule change will be happening in Austin this next Thursday, January 12.
In the pursuit of civility and bipartisanship, legislative power has been shared between the majority and minority parties in Texas for many years. But we must recognize the times we live in. There is a chasm that is deep and wide between the ideology of the two parties. The vision for Texas, and the United States of America, are vastly different between the Republican and Democrat parties.
One of the arguments I have heard in support of the bipartisanship appointments is to set a precedent for if, and when, there is a change in the majority party. Personally, I do not share their trust that if roles were reversed, the Democrat party would offer the same concessions. Democrats have shown an unwavering commitment to pursue their agendas when given majority power.
Voters in Texas gave Republicans the majority in the House, the Senate and every state-wide office. We have placed our trust in them to govern our state and to implement the legislative priorities of their base. We did not request a “coalition” government with equal share in responsibility and power. We are asking them not to “hand over the committee gavel” to those who support abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, consider puberty blockers and genital removal to be “affirming care” or support an open Texas border. (Just to name a few of the essential differences in ideology.)
We are asking elected officials for their allegiance to their DISTRICT. To their VOTERS. NOT to the Speaker of the House (who was elected Speaker in the previous session by gaining all the Democrat support plus a handful of Republicans) or past precedent.
Examples from Last Session
Last session, three GOP grassroots priority bills died in committees chaired by Democrats:
HB 1569, a religious freedom bill died in Business and Industry, a committee chaired by Democrat Rep. Chris Turner.
HB 4537, a School Choice bill authored by Rep. Mayes Middleton, was killed by Public Education Committee Chairman, Democrat Rep. Harold Dutton.
HB 446, a bill to protect historic monuments, authored by Reps. Allison, Ashby, Clardy, Bell (K.), and Murr, would have increased criminal penalties for damaging or destroying monuments, but was killed in the Criminal Jurisprudence committee chaired by Democrat Rep. Nicole Collier.
To weigh in on this issue, whether in support or opposition, contact your elected officials. Please be GRACIOUS when asking questions and sharing your opinions.
To contact Rep. Lynn Stucky, click here.
To contact Rep. Four Price, click here.
To contact Rep. John Smithee, click here.
To find who represents you, click here.
Speaker Dade Phelan’s Austin number is 512-463-1000. His District office is 409-745-2777.
Note* I have visited with Rep. Stucky’s Capitol Director and been informed that Rep. Stucky supports the current bipartisan appointment of committee chairs.