Since he was first elected in 2009, Straus has retained unanimous support from Texas House Democrats and used their committed votes to secure his hold to power. In exchange, he’s used that power to support their interests and thwart those of his own party, as he did during the regular session with the Texas Privacy Act.
But the question is, what will he do now?
What will Straus do now that Gov. Greg Abbott has called a special session and placed the Privacy Act on lawmakers’ agenda a second time, and is courting them publicly to ensure it passes?
When Straus first ran for Speaker – and throughout his time on the dais – Straus has promised a “member-driven House” where lawmakers are free to “vote their districts,” promising he would refrain from forcing his agenda on anyone.
While he rarely governed that way, he is now publicly abandoning the lofty rhetoric.
Since taking power, Straus has defied conservative citizens and those at all levels of government by obstructing their ability to pass wildly popular reforms. And rather than allow his fellow lawmakers to set the agenda, Straus has routinely imposed his own views on the entire state.
It was Straus’ team who sought to bring Obamacare to Texas. It was his team who killed bills to end government-union collusion, efforts to strengthen the state’s spending limit, and to reform property taxes. It was his lieutenants who delayed a ban on sanctuary cities for six years, and worked to gut the version in 2017 prior to allowing it to come to the floor.
And this session he personally killed the Senate version of the Texas Privacy Act by refusing to even refer it to a committee. His chief lieutenant, State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook (R–Corsicana), scuttled the House version by refusing to even hold a vote for it in committee.
All while more than 80 House Republicans had signed their name to the bill in support. So much for a “member-driven House.”
As the regular session was winding down, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered to clean up the House’s mistake by passing mandatory sunset legislation to allow the legislature to avoid a special session on the condition that Straus allow a floor vote on two measures; one that protected privacy and business freedom, and one that reformed property taxes.
In the same arrogance he displayed today, Straus thumbed his nose at Patrick and at Texans by passing empty, do-nothing versions of each bill, and announcing he would “compromise no further.”
“He said he has compromised enough, but in fact, he has not compromised at all,” Patrick said succinctly.
One thing should now be crystal clear: as long as Straus holds the Speaker’s gavel, the Texas Privacy Act and other Republican priorities can be expected to fail in every session, whether it is a 140-day regular session, or a 30-day special session.
At some point very soon, Gov. Greg Abbott and House Republicans will have to make a choice between standing with Straus and standing with Texans. The fate of conservative priorities hangs in the balance.
Republished from EmpowerTexans.com. CLICK HERE to read the original.