Two-thirds of the Texas House Republican caucus voted to uphold the Rule of Law and due process during debate on the House floor. Unfortunately, 33 moderate Republicans joined with the Democratic caucus to vest broad new power with an unelected state agency.
In a vote to keep the Public Utilities Commission from having new powers to issue “cease and desist” orders without judicial review, 60 Republican members voted correctly – understanding that bureaucracies shouldn’t be able to run roughshod over the marketplace.
This isn’t new ground. The Texas Public Policy Foundation had written extensively about the problems presented, and a letter from the legislators’ own Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute went out earlier in the year. The TPPA recommended against the bill because of the bad language.
State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) offered the conservative amendment to remove the powers. The GOP caucus study committee agreed with his amendment.
But 33 Republicans decided to go with the government growers and power consolidators.
The debate was vicious. At one point, moderate GOP State Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland took to the microphone and grumpily said he was “tired” of hearing from “a freshman” (meaning Mr. Krause), demanding to hear from a more senior member.
(Moderate senior members behaving badly toward a conservative freshman…? That should also ring a bell.)
To his credit, House Speaker Joe Straus immediately gaveled the chamber and pointedly reminded members to observe decorum in the proceedings.
One vote does not a session make. With more than 65 days left in the legislative session, members have a chance to not only fix this vote but also do better (or worse) on conservative issues.
Here’s the Gang of 33:
|First Name||Last Name||District||Hometown|
|Sarah||Davis||HD-134||West University Place|
Source: Texas House
UPDATE: In the official Journal issued today, Mr. Hilderbran and Mrs. King changed their votes. Mr. Hilderbran went from voting wrong to voting right; Mrs. King went from voting right to voting wrong. The chart above has been updated.