UPDATED January 5 to include a link to all proposed House rules changes.
A coalition of grassroots Texans is urging Republican lawmakers to unify around a single proposal to stop giving Democrats powerful committee chairmanships in the GOP-led state House—a top conservative priority heading into the 2023 legislative session.
“We believe that Rep. Slaton is the right person to lay out this incredibly important rule change before the House on January 12,” said Wise County Conservatives co-founder Andy Hopper, one of more than 50 signers of the letter representing numerous activist groups and conservative organizations.
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royce City), who led the charge on the issue last session, again proposed a House rules amendment to ban Democrat committee chairs during a committee meeting in December.
Since then, grassroots leaders learned State Rep. Steve Toth (R–The Woodlands) may be planning to file an identical amendment instead of supporting Slaton’s.
Hopper and more than 50 other conservative activists from across the state signed a letter to Toth this week asking why:
We are concerned with the lack of unity from within the chamber on the Slaton amendment when grassroots Texans have been united on this issue since Slaton brought it to the floor two years ago.
While we welcome your willingness to change your position on this policy and join grassroots Texans, we are confused as to the reason to file an identical amendment.
Toth opposed Slaton’s proposal to ban all Democrat committee chairs during the last legislative session, though he voted for a separate amendment by Slaton to keep Democrats from chairing several key committees.
As of publication time, Toth had not responded to the grassroots leaders or answered questions posed by Texas Scorecard.
Slaton says he hasn’t heard from Toth, either.
“I’ve reached out to Steve about why he’s filing an identical amendment to mine, but he has not responded,” he said.
“I’m grateful so many legislators who opposed this last session have told me they will be standing with me on this issue. We have dozens of members whose eyes have been opened,” Slaton added.
Activists who signed the letter to Toth say Slaton is the right choice to champion the change.
“Slaton has been a bold, tireless advocate for many Republican Party of Texas principles,” said Greg Bray, co-director of the Rockwall/Kaufman County chapter of True Texas Project. “He has traveled the state speaking and gathering additional support for this already wildly popular issue among state delegates.”
“Bryan Slaton has been singularly responsible for educating Republicans across Texas that our representatives in the Texas House voluntarily surrender power to radical Democrats,” Hopper said. “Grassroots Republicans want a public vote on this issue, and they trust Slaton to make that happen.”
The grassroots activists concluded their letter with a simple request to Toth: “We are asking you to help amplify and unify the voices of conservative activists by supporting Rep. Slaton’s amendment to ban Democrat chairs.”
The 88th Texas Legislature convenes January 10.
All proposed House rules changes submitted during a December 6 House Administration Committee hearing can be viewed here.