Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has scheduled the debate on House rules and proposed amendments for 10 a.m. Wednesday, spurning the Republican Party of Texas and many grassroots activists who are convoying to Austin on Thursday to voice their opinions on the appointment of Democrats to key leadership positions.

The rules debate determines whether the Republican-controlled House will vote to bar Democrats from powerful chairmanship positions on House committees, which determine whether key conservative legislation is passed.

Banning Democrat committee chairs is a priority of Texas GOP voters for 2023––supported by 81 percent of Republicans––but Phelan’s own acceptance speech was clear: Republicans will share power in the lower chamber with Democrats.

State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City), who nominated State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) to challenge Phelan for House speaker, called Phelan’s decision “his first act of defiance to Republican voters.”

“My message to grassroots Texans is simple: Do not cancel a single bus,” says Slaton. “Your voice matters and you deserve to be heard.”

Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi described the move as “reprehensible, but not surprising.”

“House Republicans too often show contempt for their voting base, and they will twice tomorrow,” added Rinaldi. “The first will be when they take the unusual step of debating House rules a day early to avoid visiting constituents; the second, when many House Republicans will vote to award powerful leadership positions to Democrats.”

“There are bus loads of hundreds of constituents, including one from the Speaker’s own county, Jefferson, coming Thursday,” RPT Legislative Priorities Chair Jill Glover told Texas Scorecard. “Hoping the Speaker will respect the voices of all the people.”

“Just a nice middle finger to start the session,” says one woman in response to Phelan’s actions.

Citizens can use Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory to contact their lawmakers and ask how they will vote Wednesday morning.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Managing Editor for Texas Scorecard. She graduated from Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government and is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.