Included in the 2012 Republican Party Platform, adopted this weekend in Fort Worth, is a plank calling on House members to do something they’ve never done before: hold town hall meetings on legislative leadership. Let’s see how many of them actually do it.
The platform, adopted this last week in Fort Worth, called on Republican legislators to “hold public town hall meetings in which the voters can express their wishes and thoughts about the leadership for the 83rd Session.”
Republican lawmakers are also urged to do away with the secretitve “pledge card” system in which lawmakers swear fealty to an incumbent speaker in exchange for campaign support.
In 2011, the Republican caucus met behind closed doors, but had members stand if they opposed re-electing Joe Straus. It is reported that only 30 members were willing to risk retribution and stood against the moderate incumbent.
The platform reflects changes in state law, a part of the evolving response to the recent court finding that for the past 40 years Texans were unconstitutionally restricted from participating in the selection of the third-ranking constitutional officer in the state, the Speaker of the House.
With the so-called “speaker statute,” and the corrupting system that arose around it, a thing of the past, it is time for lawmakers to start actively engaging with their constituents on matters of legislative leadership.