As the Texas House debated its rules on Thursday, increasing transparency was a major focus for some lawmakers who fought to improve the way the House will operate for the 87th Legislative Session.
Going into the debate, conservative citizens sounded alarms over a proposed change that would raise the threshold required to receive a record vote from one to three members. Currently, the Texas House rules allow any single member to call for a “record vote,” in which the names of each member and how they voted on a given bill, amendment, or other action is placed into the journal.
Concern was also raised over a new proposed “consensus” calendar, which would limit debate and amendments on certain bills.
Both of those proposals were struck from the resolution almost immediately, in a unanimous vote.
After that, no amendments to the resolution—from Republicans or Democrats—were successfully added.
State Rep. Jeff Cason (R–Bedford) attempted to strike a provision that bars citizens from recording video in committee hearings. That amendment was voted down 33-109.
Another amendment by Cason would require that committees be open to the public to attend. That amendment was voted down 40-102.
State Rep. Cody Vasut (R–Angleton) offered an amendment that would allow each lawmaker to place one piece of legislation on an expedited track. That amendment was voted down 11-130.
A pair of proposed amendments by State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) would have prevented Democrats from chairing key legislative committees. Those amendments were firmly rejected by the body.
Another amendment by Slaton would have prevented the House from renaming highways until there was a vote on abolishing abortion. The amendment met a similar fate.
An amendment by State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) to end the practice of “tagging” bills—a secret way of killing bills in committee without a vote—only received 21 votes in support.
After hours of debate, and no additional amendments added to the House rules, the entire package passed unanimously.
With rules now passed, the Texas House is adjourned until Tuesday, January 26.