On top of his blatant obstruction of Gov. Abbott’s conservative agenda for the special session, House Speaker Joe Straus is poking his finger in Gov. Abbott’s eye again.

The speaker is giving preferential treatment to a bill by neighboring State Rep. Lyle Larson (R–San Antonio) that would make it illegal for the governor to appoint to any public office any person who has donated $2,500 or more to the governor’s campaign. Larson filed the bill on Tuesday and it was assigned as House Bill 33. In violation of House Rules, Straus has taken the practice in recent sessions of holding back certain bill numbers and assigning them to legislation he supports.

The bill is absurd in its mechanisms. Under its terms, Texans would be allowed to donate freely to the governor’s re-eleciton campaigns; however, the donor could later find themselves in violation of state law if the governor chose to appoint them to one of hundreds of state offices.

Larson’s bill was moved out of the House during the regular session but died in the Senate. It passed the House floor despite opposition from a majority of Republicans.

The bill is not a serious proposal. Aside from its unconstitutional encroachment on the appointment authority of the governor, it is simply unworkable nonsense. But Larson and Straus know the bill will not get past the Texas Senate so concerns of public policy don’t matter. Instead, it will be used to attack the integrity of the governor and of senators, and to serve as a petty insult to the governor in light of his conservative agenda.

Tony McDonald

Tony McDonald serves as General Counsel to Texas Scorecard. A licensed and practicing attorney, Tony specializes in the areas of civil litigation, legislative lawyering, and non-profit regulatory compliance. Tony resides in Austin with his wife and daughter and attends St. Paul Lutheran Church.