This week on the podcast, we start by explaining what the rules are, and we lay out key takeaways from last week’s debate.

Some key things we learned this week include:

  1. Leadership is still the minority. This was brought to light by the fact that when newly elected Speaker Dade Phelan made the biggest attempt at a power grab in recent history, his administration was resoundingly defeated. Phelan has less control of the Texas House than his predecessors did.
  2. Democrats are still more influential than conservatives. This was brought to light by the fact that the vast majority of the GOP caucus voted to allow Democrats to chair (which gives a lawmaker total control over the policy in a committee) key committees, which they could use to kill GOP priorities this session. Just last session, former Speaker Dennis Bonnen placed Democrats in a position to kill the heartbeat bill and constitutional carry legislation.
  3. Abortion is still an issue that matters to a majority of the GOP caucus. While 46 Republicans voted to make abortion a priority this session, 36 Republicans teamed up with every Democrat to kill the rules change. This vote brought even more interesting realities to light when we saw former conservative State Reps. Cole Hefner, Dustin Burrows, and Craig Goldman team up with Democrats, while Republicans like State Rep. Trent Ashby and others teamed up with State Rep. Bryan Slaton to make pro-life legislation a priority.
  4. This session might be led by freshmen and less senior GOP members. We saw State Reps. Tony Tinderholt, Kyle Biedermann, Bryan Slaton, Jeff Cason, Cody Vasut, Mayes Middleton, and Steve Toth all take leadership roles in pushing positive change in the rules. This doesn’t mean that more senior Republicans won’t lead, but if they don’t, the less senior members seem ready to take the reins.
  5. The Texas Freedom Caucus is all over the place. We witnessed State Rep. Matt Shaheen side with nearly every single Democrat to protect Gov. Greg Abbott’s unconstitutional executive orders. We witnessed State Rep. Valoree Swanson consistently side with Democrats and liberal Republicans against conservatives amendments. State Rep. Briscoe Cain was the lone Freedom Caucus member who voted to give Democrats the opportunity to chair top House committees, while State Reps. Matt Schaefer and Mayes Middleton voted for and publicly supported the restriction as something conservatives needed. If a group like the Freedom Caucus has members siding with Democrats, advancing a conservative agenda will most definitely be an uphill battle.

We cover all of these observations and go more in-depth on today’s episode. We hope you enjoy it.

Lastly, while it’s important to hold public officials accountable, it’s also incredibly important that we remember to pray for our enemies. It’s something I was reminded about this week at church.

God Bless,

Luke

Texas Scorecard
What We Learned This Week From the House Rules Debate - Episode 101
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