In preparation for the 2023 legislative session, state delegates at the Republican Party of Texas Convention from June 16-18 will select new party priorities.
The Republican Party of Texas holds a statewide convention before each legislative session. Though the process and number of priorities has differed over the years, in 2020 representatives from Texas’ 31 Senate districts selected eight issues from a pool of 15 to represent the GOP’s top concerns for the upcoming legislative session.
The list of 15 issues is generated when delegates at local precinct conventions submit resolutions to their county convention. The delegates at that convention then vote on their top issues and send those resolutions to a state committee.
The Legislative Priorities Committee then reviews resolutions sent from county conventions across the state and creates a smaller pool of issues for delegates at the state convention to review. At the Republican Party of Texas Convention, delegates hear testimony from various groups and individuals promoting each resolution. The delegates then rank the list of resolutions, and the top eight become the party’s priorities.
After the delegates rank the options and the new priorities become official, Republican lawmakers typically craft legislation advancing these issues during the legislative session.
During the last state convention in 2020, the eight priorities selected by the state delegates were: election integrity, religious freedom, children and gender modification (banning medical practices), abolition of abortion, constitutional carry, monument protection, school choice for all, and banning taxpayer-funded lobbying.
Although bills creating a version of constitutional carry, addressing election integrity, and implementing further restrictions on abortion passed during the 2021 legislative session, Republican lawmakers left other legislative priorities untouched.
One of these forgotten priorities aimed to protect Texas’ monuments. The issue rose to the forefront in 2017 when the Texas General Land Office unveiled a plan to “reimagine” the Alamo. Additionally, historic statues on university campuses and in parks across the state faced controversy and potential removal. Although several Republican lawmakers introduced bills to protect monuments, every effort stalled in the Texas House.
Republican legislators also failed to act on school choice legislation. According to the official priority list, the GOP aimed to “empower parents and guardians to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education using tax credits or exemptions without government restraint or intrusion.”
Although the movement first gained popularity in Texas in 2017, school choice proponents saw a resurgence when the coronavirus pandemic led to many schools closing their doors and reverting to online classes in 2020. However, lawmakers failed to introduce legislation promoting school choice, even though both houses had a Republican majority during the 2021 session.
With delegates preparing to cast their votes for new GOP legislative priorities at the state convention later this month, Republican lawmakers will have another chance to advance the goals of the party and their constituents.