AUSTIN — The Republican Party of Texas denounced this week’s Texas House rules vote, which allowed Democrats to continue chairing committees and block conservative legislation, at a press conference on the Capitol grounds. 

More than a thousand Republican voters converged on the Capitol Thursday to voice their disgust with the status quo and hear from RPT officials and conservative lawmakers.

“While conservatives in Washington, D.C., recently fought for and won historic reforms that bring accountability and transparency to Congress, state House members in Texas just rolled over and played dead,” said RPT Legislative Priorities Chair Jill Glover.

Glover reminded Texas lawmakers that the hundreds of voters in attendance “are your constituents.” 

Banning Democrat committee chairmanship is one of eight Republican priorities for 2023, and although it is supported by more than 81 percent of Republican voters, a majority of Republican lawmakers failed to deliver. 

State Rep. Nate Schatzline (R–Fort Worth)—one of the few representatives who attempted to force a vote on the issue of Democrat committee chairs during Wednesday’s rules debate—promised voters, “We’re going to continue to fight,” especially on other RPT priority issues such as child gender mutilation and supporting parental rights in education. 

“You need to get louder and louder and louder,” Schatzline encouraged the crowd.  

State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City), who filed the amendment to ban Democrat committee chairs and was shot down, told the crowd, “This building back here [the Capitol] is supposed to represent a place where we can have civil discourse, debate, discussion, ideas can survive, and ideas can die. What we saw yesterday is there’s one item that’s not allowed to be discussed in your Texas House, and that’s a Republican Party legislative priority of making sure the majority party is in leadership. That is a no-fly zone in that building.”

State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Waxahachie)—one of the representatives who fought to get a floor vote on Slaton’s amendment—said yesterday’s vote was “incredibly unfortunate.” 

“It does bring to mind a little bit of a question: What exactly is the point of fighting for election integrity if elected Republicans are just going to turn around and voluntarily give power back to the Democrats?” asked Harrison. 

However, Harrison encouraged voters to stay in the fight because “there is nothing less than the future of our entire state, of our nation, on the line.”

“I think that was pretty dirty business,” said State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) of House Speaker Dade Phelan’s (R–Beaumont) decision to hold the rules debate on Wednesday, thereby denying the hundreds of Republican voters from across the state—who had already planned to travel to the Capitol on Thursday—the chance to voice their opposition to Democrat committee chairs.    

“There were Republicans that were complicit in what happened yesterday,” said Tinderholt.

Citizens can contact their lawmakers to ask whether they will fight for Republican priorities.

NOTE: An earlier version of this article included an allegation made by State Rep. Tinderholt against State Rep. Jeff Leach. Tinderholt has since recanted the claim and it has been removed from this article.

Sydnie Henry

A born and bred Texan, Sydnie serves as the Capitol Correspondent for Texas Scorecard. A 2021 graduate of Patrick Henry College with a B.A. in Government, Sydnie is utilizing her research and writing skills to spread truth to Texans.

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