With the Texas Legislature more than a month into its 140-day session with little progress so far, Republican State Rep. Tony Tinderholt of Arlington says he’s concerned about how much time lawmakers are taking off.
In order to adjourn for more than three days, the House and Senate are constitutionally required to pass a resolution granting them permission to do so. These resolutions are often passed with little or no discussion or opposition.
This week, however, when State Rep. Craig Goldman (R–Ft Worth) presented a resolution that would allow the legislative body to adjourn for five days and return next Tuesday, Tinderholt began questioning Goldman on the prudence of such a decision with the legislative clock ticking.
But when Tinderholt began to point out that previous legislatures had passed resolutions allowing them to begin debating and passing legislation immediately, he was shut down by House Speaker Dade Phelan, who told him his remarks were dilatory and to take his seat.
State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) was the only member to join Tinderholt in opposing the motion.
Yesterday, I had a couple of questions for my colleague, Craig Goldman, as to why the Texas House is taking so much time off instead of getting to work for the people of Texas. He and the Speaker are sending a strong message to all Republican freshman that this session, you need… https://t.co/LmeuKFcfdK pic.twitter.com/oLq76VBw5J
— Rep. Tony Tinderholt (@reptinderholt) February 15, 2023
“In the 8 years I’ve been in the House I’ve never seen the Speaker and one of his lieutenants work so hard to stop a short and simple conversation about substantive actions that the House is taking,” said Tinderholt. “When conservative bills die this session don’t let a single state representative tell you ‘we ran out of time.’ Every committee in the Texas House could be organizing this week, but instead many members are going home.”
Indeed, only the House Committees on Administration and Appropriations have held meetings so far. And despite committees being appointed last week, not a single bill has been referred to a committee to begin deliberation.
Meanwhile, in the Senate, more than 400 bills have been referred to committees, with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick saying the chamber would move quickly to pass priority legislation during a statewide call hosted by the Republican Party of Texas last week.
The Senate is slated to reconvene on Friday, February 17, at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, the House is not slated to meet again until Tuesday, February 21, at 2 p.m.