Earlier this month we began laying out a few factors citizens (and their representatives) should use to judge candidates seeking election as the next Texas House Speaker.
Among the three criteria is a requirement that the individual win the support of a majority of the Republican Caucus, specifically by committing to bringing Republican bills to the floor for a vote:
A speaker candidate must pledge to bring specific Republican, pro-taxpayer legislation to the floor of the Texas House for a vote.
Candidates can make all kinds of pledges about having a member-driven House, altering the makeup of committees, and amending the rules. Those are good things to be sure, but what matters most to Texans are legislative results.
Indeed, it doesn’t make a difference to Texans if the property tax relief bill is House Bill 2 or Senate Bill 1100, if it has one author or several, or if it goes through the Ways and Means Committee or the State Affairs Committee.
What makes a difference to Texans is if the bill makes it to the floor for an up or down vote where it can pass and those voting in opposition can be held accountable.
What legislation should speaker candidates commit to bringing to the floor? That’s up to the people.
Every lawmaker, every organization, and every citizen has issues that are important to them. The Texas GOP has its legislative priorities and ballot propositions, we at Texans for Fiscal Responsibility have our legislative priorities, and candidates have a lot of choices from which to pick and choose the issues that are most important to them.
While a Speaker only has one vote and shouldn’t pledge that something will ultimately pass the Texas House, he can ensure that the process works so that particular legislation has a chance to be considered by the body as a whole.
From our perspective, any good candidate should pledge that legislation to strengthen the state’s spending limit, repeal the Robin Hood property tax, cap other property tax increases, and provide for uniform election dates will make it to the floor for an up or down vote.
But those are just our top priorities. Citizens and legislators supporting constitutional carry, pro-life reforms, or other matters should seek similar commitments. After all, leaders can only be held accountable to the promises they make.
Right now, citizens and legislators are at the height of their leverage and capable of extracting clear commitments from Texas House Speaker hopefuls if they ask for them. They should use that leverage to their advantage and ensure that the reforms most important to Texans have a clear runway next session.