In today’s Spotlight on the 87th Legislative Session, we look back at an amendment by Taxpayer Champion State Rep. Cody Vasut (R-Brazoria) on House Bill 3 that would have prohibited mask mandates by the state.
HB 3, as it was being deliberated in the Texas House of Representatives, was known as the Texas Pandemic Response Act and addressed disaster declarations and emergency powers to include a pandemic disaster. Vasut brought an amendment to the bill that read:
The governor, the presiding officer of the governing body of a political subdivision, or any other state or local government official may not issue an order during a declared state of pandemic disaster or local state of pandemic disaster that mandates the wearing of a face covering.
Upon its initial consideration, the amendment was quickly adopted but a short time afterward, the author of HB3, State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) made a parliamentary motion to reconsider the amendment. After reconsideration, the amendment failed by a vote of 72 in favor of its reconsideration and 71 in opposition, after going through multiple verifications by which the Chief Clerk individually verified the vote of each present House lawmaker.
One can only speculate who demanded the reconsideration of the vote, but what we do know is that 4 of the most liberal Republicans in the Texas Legislature sided with House Democrats to keep Texans masked indefinitely. Those four lawmakers were State Reps. Charlie Geren (R-Ft. Worth), Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches), and Kyle Kacal (R-College Station).
Many of these liberal Republicans are currently facing primary election opponents after having an abysmal session where all four also scored less than a 40 on the Fiscal Responsibility Index. Will voters rebuke their actions by replacing them with more conservative Representatives? We will find out on March 1st.
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!