The first called special session of the 87th Legislature began Thursday morning. Immediately filed was House Resolution 5 by State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington).

If adopted, the resolution would amend current Texas House of Representative rules to allow for a motion to be made to punish lawmakers who shirk their responsibilities and leave when the House is conducting business.

The proposed penalties include removing chairmanships, committee memberships, and seniority privileges for lawmakers who break quorum.

The House is made up of 150 lawmakers. “Quorum” is when a minimum of 100 of those lawmakers are present at any given time to conduct business.

This resolution is in direct response to the “quorum-busting” maneuver that House Democrats used in the waning days of the 87th regular legislative session as they were enabled by House Republican leadership to leave and not return. This ultimately ended the legislative prospects of the omnibus election integrity bill and others, including emergency legislative priorities of Gov. Greg Abbott’s.

When the House convened, Tinderholt approached the back microphone to pose a series of parliamentary questions to House Speaker Dade Phelan.

 

While asking questions, Tinderholt was surrounded by Democrat State Reps. Chris Turner (Grand Prairie), who also happens to be the House Democrat Caucus Chairman, Erin Zwiener (Driftwood), and Alex Dominguez (Brownsville).

Tinderholt specifically asked about his resolution and the process by which it could be considered.

Tinderholt asked, “Is there any motion or action that will allow us as a body to move HR 5 through the process in an expedited manner?”

Phelan responded, “Mr. Tinderholt, the chair respectfully declines to respond to your hypothetical question.”

Tinderholt asked, “Is there any motion that I, or a member, can make according to the House rules that allows us to bring House Resolution 5 immediately to the floor for a vote?”

Phelan responded, “Again, Mr. Tinderholt, without being advised as to the content of your resolution, the chair cannot comment on a hypothetical.” He went on to say, “Mr. Tinderholt, the chair would advise you to come speak with the Parliamentarian regarding your resolution.”

The House later adjourned without considering the resolution.