With his future in the Legislature uncertain, House Speaker Dade Phelan has issued his list of interim charges for House committees.

Interim charges refer to the issues given to committees to investigate and research ahead of the legislative session next year. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released the Senate’s charges nearly a month ago.

Phelan’s charges, however, have come later than usual. In 2022, Phelan released his interim charges on March 10. 

But this year is unusual as Phelan is facing serious challenges both at home and in the capitol. In less than three weeks he has to compete in a runoff election for his legislative seat after coming in second place during the Republican primary election in March, a historically perilous position for an incumbent member—let alone the Speaker of the House.

Even if he defies the odds and survives that challenge, there is serious doubt about whether members would re-elect him to serve as speaker. State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress) has already announced he will run for speaker in 2025, and others are expected to follow.

“The House has delivered a record number of achievements that strengthen our state’s leadership in economic growth and prosperity, while further establishing Texas as the nation’s trailblazer for conservative policy,” said Phelan. “Next session, we must continue to expand upon these groundbreaking efforts for all Texans. Today, I issued interim charges that set the foundation for House committees to gather insight from stakeholders and interested Texans, identify legislative solutions for our most pressing issues, and make recommendations to the full House Chamber for consideration next session.”

Phelan’s charges for the House, compared to the charges for the Senate, are significantly more muted.

For example, while the House Committee on Ways and Means has been instructed to study ways to provide additional property tax relief, the Senate Finance Committee studies the effects of property tax elimination.

Regarding higher education, the difference is even more stark, as the House charges are missing key issues that will be studied by the Senate—including the role of faculty senates.

State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) lamented the lack of charges related to President Biden’s controversial Title IX rewrite after he had previously urged Phelan to add the issue.

“Does he support what Biden is trying to do to our students and public schools?? The Texas House has never needed new leadership more than right now,” said Harrison.

The entire list of House interim charges can be viewed here:

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens

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