After effectively killing the vast majority of Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda by delaying and diluting them to death, House Speaker Joe Straus adjourned the chamber sine die a full day early over the objections of dozens of lawmakers.
In the video archive, a number of lawmakers can be heard objecting to the motion and calling for a record vote. Straus never recognized any of the members’ objections and adjourned without a vote in defiance of the House’s rules. Even the Texas House journal demonstrates as much with 17 lawmakers noting their objections in the journal:
“(The following members gave notice of their objection to adjourn sine die,” it reads. “C.Anderson, Biedermann
Two lawmakers also entered journal statements concerning Straus’ dictatorial maneuver.
“When the motion to adjourn sine die was made, several members, including myself, objected to the motion and called for a record vote. The speaker refused to recognize the objections and adjourned without a vote. I oppose adjourning sine die while there is still time to appoint a conference committee to pass meaningful property tax relief,” wrote Matt Rinaldi (R–Irving).
“I called for a record vote and strict enforcement on the motion to adjourn sine die. Our requests were ignored and the speaker gaveled the house to adjournment sine die. The people of Texas deserve better,” wrote Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park).
Each of these statements make clear something Texans already know.
Since his election in 2009, Straus has always claimed to lead a “member-driven House,” yet in every single instance he has used his power and influence to override their will and supplant it with his own.
Bills like the Texas Privacy Act never even came to the floor this session after he refused to refer them to committee. He routinely refused to recognize lawmakers to make motions, and he twisted the rules even further to deny them their ability to offer amendments he didn’t favor.
Under his leadership, the Texas House has been run like a criminal enterprise, and Texans from Orange to El Paso have been victimized.
The only remaining question is whether a majority of the Texas House will continue to be complicit in his actions, or whether they will finally rise up and replace him.