One has to wonder at the strategy of the Democrats, as this past week the Texas House Dems flew off to D.C., then five apparently failed a COVID test. Will they now quarantine for 10 days, giving them only a week left in this Special Session if they came back to Austin? They are claiming that “Democracy is at stake,” and the GOP is stealing the freedom to vote. (see this tweet by Alex Dominguez (@RepDominguez)). Do they really think all this hyperbole is believable?
However, one wonders at the strategy of Speaker Phelan, who seems a little reluctant to do very much so far about this rebellious behavior. We do, however, want to thank our new RPT Chairman Matt Rinaldi for his leadership in urging Speaker Phelan to take action. After hearing from many of you, Speaker Phelan did remove Democrat Representative Joe Moody, the Speaker Pro Temp. So, that’s a start.
Here are some additional things he could do, according to Chairman Rinaldi:
· Issue fines
· Remove Democrat committee chairs
· Direct DPS and the Sergeant at Arms to go pick up the Democrats still in Texas
We respectfully urge Speaker Phelan to utilize all legal tools at his disposal to persuade these public servants to complete the business of the citizens of Texas. We know that there are many Republican legislators who will fully support these actions.
Meanwhile, thanks to the efforts of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate has enough Democrat members who did not flee the Capitol to have a quorum and get work done. They have been having committee hearings and votes and we appreciate that they are showing up for work.
The Legislative Priority Committee approved three Election Integrity bills: SB1, HB162, and HB225. We also like many items in HB 3, however, we currently have it on the watch list as it contains rolling polling, which our delegates have opposed.
Rolling polling is the practice of moving temporary voting stations around from place to place during the period of early voting. The practice is easily abused, and our delegates voted against it in previous Party platforms. Because we did get legislation that prohibited rolling polling, we removed it from the latest Party platform. We do not want to see that added back in, and we urge our Republican legislators to strike that from the bill.
We also approved bills under our Religious Freedom Priority, SB 2 and SB 32, to protect girls’ sports from biological boys competing on girls’ teams. We are pleased the girls’ sports issue is being addressed, but again emphasize that the underlying issue of banning pediatric gender sex-change medical practices is paramount and must be added to the special session.
Here are our action items for this week:
1. Contact Speaker Phelan and request that he continue to impose sanctions on the Democrats.
2. Contact Governor Abbott ask that he add the remaining Legislative Priorities (link) to the Special Session. We especially must get a bill protecting minors from Gender Modification practices! Email Abbott’s Chief of Staff: Luis.firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Go to Austin and visit with your legislators and their staff. The House members can meet with you by appointment, so call ahead and schedule a time. Talk to them about passing our Legislative Priorities, and other items important to you such as immigration, property taxes, executive overreach, etc.
Please remember that we have many resources to help you engage with your elected officials at the RPT website under #txlege. We also have our LP Committee Assessment Report available so you can see the actions your legislator took to support our Legislative Priorities during the regular session. This is particularly helpful information to have before you schedule a visit to the Capitol.