In today’s Spotlight on the 87th Legislative Session, we look back at the vote taken in the Texas House of Representatives to prevent Democrat lawmakers from chairing House Committees. The amendment was brought to the overall House Rules Resolution, HR 4, as it was being debated at the beginning of the 87th Legislative Session, by taxpayer champion State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City). After a considerable uproar from grassroots activists following the election of House Speaker Dade Phelan (who leveraged Democrats in order to secure enough votes to attain the speakership), Slaton brought his amendment in order to safeguard conservative priorities that have historically had their legislative prospects cut short by Democrat committee chairmen.
The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) platform states, “Texas House standing committees should advance the conservative grassroots agenda, not that of special interests and lobbyists.” The plank goes on to name specific committees the party deemed important to be chaired by Republicans in order to advance conservative reforms. One of the committees named was Public Education, of which the plank states, “The Public and Higher Education Committees should spend more time advancing conservative reforms and less time pandering to superintendents, vendors, and university administrators.” Speaker Phelan appointed Democrat Harold Dutton to chair Public Education shortly after the failure of Slaton’s amendment, immediately killing all chances of conservative reforms.
Texas Republican lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against conservative policies and endorsed allowing Democrats to chair committees. In what seemed like a no-brainer for any political party that holds a majority, the only Republicans that voted with the will of their party and the cries of the grassroots activists were: State Reps. Bryan Slaton (Royse City), Kyle Biedermann (Fredericksburg), Jeff Cason (Bedford), Mayes Middleton (Galveston), Dennis Paul (Houston), Phil Stephenson (Wharton), Ed Thompson (Pearland), and Tony Tinderholt (Arlington), who all voted for the amendment. Reports indicate that activists might work to make the committee chairman issue a top legislative priority in the upcoming RPT convention in June.
Texas taxpayers should be aware of the tremendous resource made available to them in the Fiscal Responsibility Index. TFR spent hundreds of hours analyzing votes that your lawmakers take and we have condensed them into an easily understandable metric that is available for anyone to use. We recommend you look at how fiscally responsible your lawmaker is before casting your ballot in the upcoming primary election.
Stay tuned, additional spotlights are to come!