Which Chairmen Will Be Responsible for GOP Legislative Priorities? - Texas Scorecard

We have reached the point in the 87th Legislative Session where all the bills that can be considered have been filed. Many of these bills also correspond with the official Republican Party of Texas legislative priorities.

For bills that have been referred to committees, we can start to figure out who will be responsible for whether they make it through the first big step in the overall legislative process based on who the chairman of those respective committees are and the partisan/ideological makeup of their membership. The following is a breakdown of each committee in which the priority bills have been referred.

House of Representatives

The chairmen in the House responsible for RPT legislative priorities include Republican State Reps. Briscoe Cain (Deer Park), Chris Paddie (Marshall), Stephanie Klick (Fort Worth), Tom Oliverson (Cypress), Andrew Murr (Junction), James White (Hillister), and Ken King (Canadian). 

Notably, there are also Democrat chairmen who have RPT priority bills referred to their committees, and those include State Reps. Harold Dutton (Houston), Senfronia Thompson (Houston), Chris Turner (Grand Prairie), and Nicole Collier (Fort Worth).

Here is a specific breakdown:

House Elections CommitteeChairman: Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park)

RPT Legislative Priority: Election Integrity

  • HB 329 (Cain) – Relating to election integrity.
  • HB 335 (Cain) – Relating to the cancellation of a person’s voter registration on notice that has acknowledged that the person is not a citizen; providing a civil penalty; creating a criminal offense.
  • HB 574 (Bonnen) – Relating to the prevention of fraud in the conduct of an election.
  • HB 1368 (Leach) – Relating to election fraud; increasing a penalty.
  • HB 2339 (Klick) – Relating to the use of information from the lists of noncitizens and nonresidents excused or disqualified from jury service.
  • HB 2546 (Jetton) – Relating to the enforcement by the secretary of state of certain voter roll maintenance provisions; creating a criminal offense.

House State Affairs CommitteeChairman: Rep. Chris Paddie (R–Marshall)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HB 525 (Shaheen) – Relating to the protection of religious organizations.
  • HB 1239 (Sanford) – Relating to prohibited suspension of laws protecting religious freedom and prohibited closure of places of worship.
  • HB 1487 (Dean) – Relating to the protection of religious organizations.
  • HB 1691 (Tinderholt) – Relating to the protection of religious freedoms and religious institutions during a declared state of disaster.
  • HCR 1 (Stephenson) – Supporting prayers, including the use of the word “God,” at public gatherings and displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings.

RPT Legislative Priority: Abolition of Abortion

  • HJR 80 (Slawson) – Proposing a constitutional amendment clarifying the Texas Constitution does not secure or protect the right to an abortion or require the expenditure of public money for an abortion.

RPT Legislative Priority: Ban Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying

  • HB 749 (Middleton) – Relating to the use by a political subdivision of public funds for lobbying activities.

 

House Public Health CommitteeRep. Stephanie Klick (R–Fort Worth)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HB 1291 (Bell, K.) – Relating to the notice of the right to object to participation in an abortion procedure for health care personnel of a hospital or health care facility.
  • HB 1424 (Oliverson) – Relating to a health care provider’s right to object to participation in a medical procedure that violates the provider’s ethical, moral, or religious beliefs.

RPT Legislative Priority: Children & Gender Modification

  • HB 68 (Toth) – Relating to the definition of abuse of a child.
  • HB 1399 (Krause) – Relating to professional liability insurance coverage for and prohibitions on the provision to certain children of procedures and treatments for gender transitioning, gender reassignment, or gender dysphoria.

RPT Legislative Priority: Abolition of Abortion

  • HB 1280 (Capriglione) – Relating to prohibition of abortion; providing a civil penalty; creating a criminal offense.
  • HB 1623 (Toth) – Relating to personhood rights for born and preborn human beings.

 

House Insurance CommitteeRep. Tom Oliverson (R–Cypress)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HB 573 (Oliverson) – Relating to the operation of health care sharing ministries; authorizing a fee; providing an administrative penalty.

 

House Corrections CommitteeRep. Andrew Murr (R–Junction)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HB 1579 (White) – Relating to the protection of the free exercise of religious rights of inmates and ensuring access to volunteer and faith-based chaplains and chaplaincy services.

 

House Homeland Security & Public Safety CommitteeRep. James White (R–Hillister)

RPT Legislative Priority: Constitutional Carry

  • HB 1238 (Biedermann) – Relating to provisions governing the carrying of a firearm by a person who is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing the firearm and to other provisions related to the carrying, possessing, transporting, or storing of a firearm.

 

House Public Education CommitteeRep. Harold Dutton (D–Houston)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HB 1218 – (Oliverson) – Relating to the display of the national motto in public schools and institutions of higher education.

 

House Licensing & Administrative Procedures CommitteeRep. Senfronia Thompson (D–Houston)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HJR 33 (Swanson) – Proposing a constitutional amendment protecting an individual’s right to earn a living free from unnecessary governmental interference.

 

House Business & Industry CommitteeRep. Chris Turner (D–Grand Prairie)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • HB 1569 (Schofield) – Relating to regulation by a property owners’ association of certain religious displays.

 

House Criminal Jurisprudence CommitteeRep. Nicole Collier (D–Fort Worth)

RPT Legislative Priority: Monument Protection

  • HB 446 (Allison) – Relating to increasing the criminal penalty for the offense of criminal mischief involving the damage or destruction of a public monument.

 

House Culture, Recreation & Tourism CommitteeRep. Ken King (R–Canadian)

RPT Legislative Priority: Monument Protection

  • HB 1079 (Perez) – Relating to the relocation of the Battleship “Texas” after refurbishment.

 

Bills Not Yet Referred to Committee

RPT Legislative Priority: Monument Protection

  • HB 2571 (Slaton) – Relating to the removal, relocation, alteration, or construction of certain monuments or memorials located on public property.
  • HB 2713 (Hefner) – Relating to the removal, relocation, alteration, or construction of certain monuments or memorials located on public property; providing civil penalties.
  • HB 2866 (Biedermann) – Relating to the preservation, maintenance, and restoration of the Alamo Cenotaph; granting the power of eminent domain.

RPT Legislative Priority: Ban Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying

  • HB 2319 (Jetton) – Relating to the use of public money to compensate a person who lobbies the federal government.

 

Senate

The chairmen in the Senate responsible for RPT legislative priorities include Republican State Sens. Bryan Hughes (Mineola), and Lois Kolkhorst (Brenham), as well as Democrat State Sen. John Whitmire (Houston).

Here is a specific breakdown:

Senate State Affairs CommitteeChairman: Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola)

RPT Legislative Priority: Election Integrity

  • SB 155 (Perry) – Relating to the use of information from the lists of noncitizens and nonresidents excused or disqualified from jury service.

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • SB 26 (Paxton) – Relating to prohibited suspension of laws protecting religious freedom and prohibited closure of places of worship.
  • SB 251 (Paxton) – Relating to prohibited suspension of laws protecting religious freedom and prohibited closure of places of worship.
  • SB 573 (Springer) – Relating to the notice of the right to object to participation in an abortion procedure for health care personnel of a hospital or health care facility.
  • SB 797 (Hughes) – Relating to the display of the national motto in public schools and institutions of higher education.

RPT Legislative Priority: Abolition of Abortion

  • SB 9 (Paxton) – Relating to prohibition of abortion; providing a civil penalty; creating a criminal offense.
  • SB 391 (Paxton) – Relating to prohibition of abortion; providing a civil penalty; creating a criminal offense.

RPT Legislative Priority: Ban Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying

  • SB 234 (Hall) – Relating to the use by a political subdivision of public funds for lobbying activities.

 

Senate Criminal Justice CommitteeSen. John Whitmire (D–Houston)

RPT Legislative Priority: Religious Freedom

  • SB 654 (Bettencourt) – Relating to protecting the right to free exercise of religion and ensuring access to volunteer and faith-based chaplains and chaplaincy services for inmates.

 

Senate Health & Human Services CommitteeSen. Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham)

  • SJR 25 (Hall) – Proposing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to life of unborn children.

What Does It All Mean?

Though it may be too early in the legislative session to draw any distinct conclusions about the prospects for each individual RPT legislative priority, some committees’ membership is more favorable than others. With 80 days left in the 87th Legislative Session, it will become more clear over the next few weeks whether leadership prioritizes RPT bills or whether they go a different direction.

You can follow the progress of any of the official RPT legislative priorities with a tool located on our website.