Democrat State Rep. Oscar Longoria of Mission is one of nine Democrats appointed to chair a committee in the Republican-controlled Texas House this legislative session, despite Texas Republicans rallying against placing Democrats in leadership positions.
The Business & Industry Committee oversees all areas relating to industry and manufacturing, including the regulation of safe working practices, wages, unemployment, labor unions, consumer protection, identity theft, homeowners associations, the construction industry, regulation of private industry, and the oversight of several state agencies.
Longoria’s record includes votes to fast-track a bill to increase the minimum wage, to allow school districts to raise taxes without voter approval, to kill the spending limits bill, and to raid the Economic Stabilization Fund. He has also voted against school choice.
With an “F” career rating from Texas for Fiscal Responsibility, Longoria regularly votes for tax hikes and additional regulations for businesses and citizens. Young Conservatives of Texas gave Longoria a rating of 19 out of 100 due to his vote record of expanding government, rejecting constitutional carry, and supporting corporate welfare as well as taxpayer-funded lobbying. Texas Right to Life gave Longoria a rating of 5 out of 100 due to his voting against the Heartbeat Act, which prohibited abortions after the baby has a detectable heartbeat.
Longoria’s oversight of the Business and Industry Committee, in addition to the committee being majority Democrat, raises concerns over what legislation will pass out of the committee, considering some of the Texas Democrat Party planks regarding business:
- Ensure that the minimum wage in Texas is a living wage indexed to inflation
- Require that all employment positions guarantee retirement and health benefits, equal pay for equal work, safe working conditions and Workers’ Compensation insurance, paid sick leave, paid vacation leave, paid family leave, workplace accommodation for child nursing, and payment of prevailing wages for public projects; and
- Mandate the right for employees to form or join a union in order to negotiate collectively with their employer without fear of union-busting attacks or laws such as prohibitions on payroll deduction of union dues
- Repeal so-called “right-to-work” laws designed to weaken labor unions
- Expand programs supporting small businesses owned by women and people of color
Texans concerned about Longoria’s appointment can find contact information for House Speaker Phelan in Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory.