As lawmakers prepare to gavel in for a second special session, an influential grassroots organization is putting out a call to action to ensure Democrats are not enabled to thwart conservative priorities yet again.
Friday marked the end of the first 30-day special session called this year by Gov. Greg Abbott. The special session was quickly stymied after a majority of Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives fled for Washington, D.C., in order to deny the remaining members quorum.
As a result, conservative priorities such as election integrity legislation were killed.
Grassroots America – We The People, a conservative group based out of Tyler, is asking citizens to contact their members of the Texas House and urge them to pass the following changes to the House rules:
Rule Change #1: In order to ensure the constitutional responsibilities of the Texas Legislature are not derailed or abandoned, the majority party SHALL enact new rules of the House within 24 hours of quorum-breaking actions.
Rule Change #2: Prohibited is the appointment of any Democrat to a Committee Chair or Vice-Chair position.
Rule Change #3: The act of breaking quorum shall penalize “absent without leave” State Reps by stripping them of chairmanships, vice chairmanships, committee memberships, AND seniority privileges.
Rule Change #4: Three (3) unexcused absences for a State Rep. stops salary, per diem, mileage reimbursement, and staff pay. Upon return, resumed payments to the State Representative – including contributions to state retirement funds – shall be reduced by 50% until the end of the current regular or special session. This reduction constitutes a built-in fine for shirking the responsibility of showing up to [fulfill] the oath of office.
Rule Change #5: ALL salary, per diem, mileage reimbursements, and staff pay shall revert to paper checks during a special session. All payments SHALL be picked up in-person by State Representatives – no exceptions.
Rule Change #6: During a regular session of the legislature, the House Calendars Committee SHALL – within 14 days – publicly vote to move bills to the House floor. During a special session, the House Calendars Committee SHALL – within 5 days – publicly vote to move bills to the House floor.
JoAnn Fleming, the group’s executive director, says the changes are needed to decentralize the power of the speaker of the House and punish Democrats who left for Washington, D.C., and broke quorum during the first special session.
“Any reluctance or resistance on the part of Republican State Representatives to pass strong rule changes to stop the obstruction of the work of the Texas House and halt impediments to ‘the consent of the governed’, should be viewed as active participation in the obstruction,” said Fleming.
Lawmakers are slated to begin the second special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday.