UPDATE ON THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE - ACTION REQUIRED!
by Sonja Harris on January 4, 2011 at 12:53 AM
"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." Mark Twain
HOT, one word to describe Straus’s struggle for the Speaker’s seat HOT! Why else would State Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson come up with such a letter to Representative Larry Taylor, Chairman of the Republican Caucus? It is ludicrous to send Taylor a letter telling him to hire an attorney to ‘solicit independent legal advice’. Where are we, in DC? We elected state representatives not attorneys. We do not need attorneys to tell us the obvious. Is Andersen saying to Taylor, you don’t know your job? Andersen should stop embarrassing himself and the House of Representatives. Article 3, Section 9b of the Texas Constitution reads simply “the House of Representatives shall, when it first assembles, organize temporarily, and thereupon proceed to the election of a Speaker from its own members”. The Speaker of the House will be elected by all the representatives on the House floor. Do Texans really want a two thousand word document detailing this action?
Anderson’s first question is rather vague stating that ‘the purpose of the meeting is to solicit pledges that effectively select a Speaker’. If Anderson is referring to arm twisting solicited pledges to ensure Straus’s victory in ‘secret’ then there certainly is a problem. The selection of the Republican nominee for the Speaker of the House should be in the Republican Caucus so that all Texans know that the selection is ‘transparent’. The TexasConstitution in Article 3 Section 16 states that, “the sessions of each House shall be open, except the Senate when in Executive session.” The Government code on Open Meetings specifically states that, “the legislature is exercising its powers to adopt rules to prohibit secret meetings”. It seems to me that the Republican Caucus would be open to the public.
Anderson goes on to say, “what weight will the votes of those caucus members not returning for the 82nd Session carry in a decision that will effectively elect a speaker for the coming session”? The answer is NONE and “What role will the members elect of 82ndTexas Legislature, yet to be sworn in, have on the current caucus (81stTexas Legislature) decision? The answer is they can participate and VOTE without being sworn in. I base my opinions on the following: please read Article II Membership, Section 2.01 and 2.03 where it plainly states that all Republicans in the House are eligible to be members of the Caucus. If you read further in Section 2.04 again in plain English it states that those not returning are NOT eligible to participate or vote in the caucus.
Maybe Anderson should read the Bylaws of the Republican Caucus and the Texas Constitution. It is certainly unfortunate that a well respected state representative like Anderson has chosen to involve himself in such a manner. He of all people should understand the Texas Constitution and the Bylaws of the Republican Caucus. If this is an example of how Anderson is representing his District maybe his constituents should elect someone who can understand these documents. Or it could be that we are not ‘seeing’ something that is not being revealed. Unless there are some ‘hidden’ or ‘secret’ Sections of the Bylaws or the Texas Constitution, or some nefarious scheming it is clear that Taylor, providing he has 10 written requests, can and should call for a caucus.
Why is there such a fuss about calling a Republican Caucus? Republicans are in the majority, 101 members - 49 Democrats, and wouldn't it be to the benefit of every constituent and Republican state representative to have the Republican nominee for Speaker of the Hose selected in the Republican Caucus?
We need to move forward and elect a conservative Speaker of the House and stop this fiddling while Rome burns.
Article III Regular Caucus Meetings
Taylor: Most of the emails that I've been getting from outside my area are basically 'Larry Taylor's the only one who can call a caucus together. He's the chairman. We need to pound him and make him call a caucus meeting. It's true. I can call a caucus meeting. But for the caucus to take an official position we first of all have to have a quorum present, which is now 50 members. For us to take an official position, we have to have the greater of that quorum or two-thirds present. For us to take a vote on the speaker, which would be an official action, if only 50 people show up out of 99, I would have to have a unanimous vote -- 50 people saying they want a vote for speaker.
There is another way that the caucus can be called together, and that's by a letter from 10 members. If any 10 members want to have a meeting and they give me a letter stating such, I have to call a meeting within seven days. But even with that, they still have the same requirements. They [must] have a quorum and they still got to have the greater of two-thirds or a quorum to move.
Bryan Hughes Withdraws Support for Straus. by Elise Hu
November 10, 2010
In his release, Hughes detailed a conversation with an undisclosed member of the speaker's leadership team, in which the lieutenant told him redistricting maps were already being drawn "to punish members not on Straus' list of supporters."
More specifically, this member told me that maps were already being drawn to get rid of Representative-Elect Erwin Cain (R-Sulphur Springs) and Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van), because they were not on the Speaker's list of supporters.
I was then told that I had nothing to worry about in redistricting, so long as I stayed on the Speaker’s list.
This conversation first saddened and then disgusted me.
Using the redistricting process for retribution reminds us of all that is wrong with politics. The Speaker's race should be decided not based on threats of punishment and not on promises of power, but on principle.
Attend the opening day of the
82nd Texas Legislature
Tuesday, January 11, 2011 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm
State Capital in Austin
Bring a chair for comfort and signs such as Voter ID and Pass Sonogram Bill
Have you contacted your State Rep?