Unwilling to fight for school choice, a real ban on sanctuary cities, or protecting women from predators, the chairman of the Texas House Republican caucus is defending a decision of the chamber’s leadership to help Democrats chub the legislative calendar with a minimum wage hike.

State Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) has refused to speak out as priorities of the state’s Republican Party and Gov. Greg Abbott have been labeled “dead on arrival” by the Democrat coalition leadership in the Texas House.

For example, Parker has refused to speak against efforts of State Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), who chairs the powerful State Affairs committee, to water-down the ban on sanctuary cities passed by the Texas Senate. Likewise, Parker has refused to criticize State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble) for saying he would not allow school choice bills to be heard in the education committee he chairs.

And Parker has said nothing as House Speaker Joe Straus has worked to rally opposition to Senate Bill 6, the Texas Privacy Act. This is legislation designed to protect women from sexual predators while freeing businesses from the tyranny of the local government bathroom police.

Instead, Parker issued a statement decrying reports on the chamber’s vote last week to “suspend the rules” and allow expedited hearings – in a committee chaired by a Democrat – to hike the minimum wage in Texas.

In a statement issued under the auspices of the House Republican Caucus, Parker claimed that the caucus “does not support increasing the minimum wage.”

That was never the concern. 

Everyone, including the Texas House leadership, knows a minimum wage hike won’t pass the chamber. In the 2015 legislative session, however, the Texas House allowed debate on HJR 26 – the exact same “minimum wage” language – to chub the calendar and kill the “American Law for American Courts” bill supported by a broad coalition of conservative activists. The ALAC bill, authored by State Reps. Dan Flynn (R-Van), Jeff Leach (R-Plano), and Dwayne Bohac (R-Houston), was delayed in the House Calendars Committee for six days so that it and other conservative reforms could be killed by the minimum wage “fight” delay.

Citizens expect Parker and his caucus to fight for the conservative principles lawmakers campaign upon, not excuse the procedural games used to kill those reforms.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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