A Texas state representative is naming names when it comes to the legislature’s failure to pass certain pieces of conservative legislation, including a ban on Chinese ownership of Texas land and ending COVID vaccine mandates.

State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian) made the comments during an interview with Chris Salcedo on Tuesday where he was asked to identify who was responsible for killing legislation by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) that would have prevented hostile foreign countries—such as China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea—from buying land in Texas. 

Harrison’s first target? House Speaker Dade Phelan.

“The Texas Senate passed that bill…and what happened in the Texas House to that bill is what happens to conservative priority after conservative priority after conservative priority. And that is that it goes to one of the speaker’s chairmen. The speaker is ultimately responsible for every single thing that happens in the Texas House, let me be very clear about that,” said Harrison.

Beyond just Phelan, Harrison also pointed blame towards the chairmen he appoints to head committees.

“They know what the speaker wants and what the speaker doesn’t want,” explained Harrison.

Harrison noted that the China land bill—Senate Bill 147—was never given a hearing by State Rep. Todd Hunter (R–Corpus Christi), who chairs the House State Affairs Committee. He also listed legislation to strengthen the grid and reduce dependence on Texas on unreliable energy sources as other examples of bills killed in Hunter’s committee.

When it came to conservative bills that did make it through committee, Harrison said State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock)—who chairs the Calendars Committee—shared much of the blame. 

“Once you get out of committee, you have to go to another committee called the Calendars Committee. And that’s where the speaker’s handpicked person chooses whether the House can even debate something,” said Harrison.

“Why did the Calendars Committee—led by supposedly a Republican Dustin Burrows—why was it so important to him to protect the right for unvaccinated Texans to have their careers destroyed?”

Some legislation, such as reforming executive overreach, Harrison said was put on a calendar but given no chance to succeed.

“[Burrows] let it out of committee. But he put it literally as the last item on the calendar on the last day. And then they conspired with the Democrats to allow the Democrats to filibuster all the 300 bills before the conservative bills to make sure that the Texas House never actually voted on it, but that they can’t be blamed for what they did,” said Harrison.

It’s this outsized influence of Democrats in the Texas House granted by leadership that Harrison says allows them to control the chamber.

“Democrats have a lot of power in the Texas House. Not a lick of it, though, that they earn from the voters,” said Harrison. “They got all their power from the ‘Republican’ leadership of the Texas House. Democrats can’t do anything that the Republican leadership does not let them do. And yet they do a whole lot of killing of countless conservative bills and they are allowed to pass liberal government expanding bills every single day in the Texas House because when you’re in the Texas House, the Democrats win, even when they lose the ballot box and it is past time for that insanity to stop.”

Phelan, Burrows, and Hunter did not respond to a request for comment. 

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