RECAP: Texas House Rules Battle

January 14, 2021
TFR Staff
Bryan Slaton, House Rules of Procedure, Jeff Cason, Tony Tinderholt

Thanks to the effort of a number of conservatives in the Texas House, a number of anti-taxpayer rule proposals were defeated. However, a majority of lawmakers unfortunately prevented many positive changes from being adopted on the floor.

On Thursday Texas House lawmakers passed HR 4, a resolution establishing their rules for the 87th Texas Legislature.

Ahead of the debate, many organizations, including TFR, raised serious concerns over a number of the proposals which included the creation of a consensus calendar (on this newly proposed calendar, just a few lawmakers could prevent their colleagues from offering amendments to legislation) and a decision to raise the threshold to request a record vote from one to three lawmakers.

Thankfully, both changes were stripped out before the bill passed. However, efforts by conservatives to make the rules more taxpayer and citizen-friendly were also defeated. Here are a few of those defeats:

Slaton Amendments to Limit Power of Democrats

State Rep. Bryan Slaton offered an amendment that would require the top 11 most important committees of the Texas House to be chaired by the majority party. This would ensure that the minority party could not kill legislation through the strength of committee chairmanship.

The amendment was defeated with 11 Yeas, 127 Nays, 2 PNV. To see how your lawmaker voted click HERE.

Slaton also brought a similar amendment that would require all chairs to be of the majority party.

That amendment was defeated with 5 Yeas, 135 Nays, 2 PNV. To see how your lawmaker voted click HERE.

Cason Amendment to Protect Right to Record

State Rep. Jeff Cason brought an amendment to protect the rights of citizens to record video in public committee hearings. Unfortunately, this amendment failed with over two-thirds of the House voting against the rights of citizens.

This amendment was defeated with 33 Yeas, 109 Nays, 1 PNV. To see how your lawmaker voted click HERE.

Tinderholt Amendment to Provide Transparency

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt brought an amendment that would prevent the practice of “tagging” a bill in the Calendars Committee, a practice whereby they can kill bills in secret without a vote. Tinderholt’s amendment would require a record vote in the case the committee “tagged” a bill refusing to place it on a calendar.

This amendment was defeated with 21 Yeas, 118 Nays, 1 PNV. To see how your lawmaker voted click HERE.

What’s Next?

After adopting their rules, the Texas House voted to adjourn until Tuesday, January 26th. The Texas Senate is also adjourned until that same day. While this means lawmakers will not engage in floor action, taxpayers can expect they will continue to work on legislation and communicate with their constituents.

If there is an issue important to you, now is a good time to let your lawmaker know!