Last week kicked off with the opening ceremonies and voting on proposed rules for conducting business. We watched it all, so you don’t have to. Here are the highlights.
Living Blue in Texas has been waiting for this week to start because we’re excited to start dishing out Anti Awards©. As far-right as some of these Republicans are this year, it looks like they’ll be in a tight race for the worst legislator of the session. (Before this article, Drew Springer was in the lead.)
(We’re a little late posting, because the world is on fire, but better late than never.)
Dade Phelan was voted speaker of the House with only two dissents. Those two were HD92 Jeff Cason and H2 Bryan Slaton. They both get Anti Awards© for this. Not because they didn’t vote for Phelan, it’s because of their reason. They both put out a statement.
They both didn’t vote for Phelan because he wouldn’t commit to blocking Democrats from key committee chairmanships.
Petty. Cason even said, “unnecessarily empowering Democrats.” In Jeff Cason’s district, there 38,509 were voters that didn’t vote for him. And 14,514 in Bryan Slaton’s district who voted for someone else. In fact, Cason only won with 50.9% of the vote.
What is with these two? They voted the same and put out nearly the same statement on Facebook. Look at their Facebook profile pictures, they even look the same. 🤮
If they keep it up, I’ll have to dub them the “samesies-twins.”
SD2 Bryan Hughes said something Wednesday, which all Republicans in Texas need to take into consideration. He said that the will of the majority has to be enacted without trampling the rights of the minority. Democrats the minority in Texas, right now, but not by much. In Bryan Slaton’s district, for example, the minority represents 49.1%. Yet, these two Republicans clearly stated they wish to trample the rights of the minority.
The unfortunate thing about Hughes’ Wednesday speech, though is he failed to use what he was saying in the right context.
Right after he said those important words, he said “I believe our tradition of requiring a supermajority is good and it works, and we should retain it. Says no change could thwart “big items” favored by a majority of Texans.”
Hughes laid out a proposal to change the original 2/3 rule, which was changed to the 3/5 rule in 2015, to the 5/9 or 18-vote rule in order to preserve straight party-line vote in Texas Senate.
This led to a funny moment.
SD15 John Whitmire (D) stood and said to Hughes, “Would you be offended if I called you a snake-oil salesman?” You got to love Texas Democrats.
Hughes smiled and agreed, citing he was a lawyer and a politician.
Hey, if you’re an asshole, why not wear it loud and wear it proud?
The standard of “majority rule” in Texas is important. Previously, 19 senators must agree to bring a bill to the floor. Rules would change that to 18, because Republicans are down to 18 senators, while there are only 13 Democrats.
They did this so they would be able to force unpopular legislation. Bryan Hughes is up for election in 2022 and he earned his first Anti Awards©.
Several lawmakers were already breaking coronavirus rules on day 1.
HD138 Lacey Hull and Bryan Slaton were outed for not following the mask rules on the House floor. Anti Awards© for them both.
The first day didn’t just bring excitement into State Capitol. There was also plenty going on outside.
The Texas State Guard was out to protect the State Capitol Building. They were out there in force because of the warnings of crazed Trumpers at the state capitols in all 50 states.
Some have said they are worried about Austin over this next week. They’re worried that Q-lunatics will storm our state capitol and try to take over our state government.
But this is Texas. Texas is more likely to secede and give Trump immunity from American prosecution. Texas Republicans are Trump Republicans. Domestic terrorists really wouldn’t have a reason to storm Texas’ capitol, because they already have everything they want here.
Allen West was pictured outside smiling and shaking hands with white militia members.
West wasn’t the only RWNJ out there.
Doc Greene, a far-right extremist and podcast host from Houston also made an appearance. He uploaded the video to Facebook. Woo, it was one of the nuttiest things I’ve seen all week, which should speak volumes, considering the week we’ve all had. Tagging along with him was a rag-tag group of the far-right.
There was so much “wow” in this video. If you are trying to understand how we got to where we are in America, this video will help you see how severe and widespread the sickness is.
Kenny Wolfam, often side-kick of Len Swanson, was also there. The rule to go into the building is that you have to take a Covid test and wear a mask. Greene’s video shows several angry people regarding taking the test, it was a wide topic of discussion. One lady spoke about how the government was trying to force them to have an unauthorized medical procedure to enter the building. She refused to do it. They all refused to do it. Because of liberty.
Is this the Trump-age Libertarian Party?
There were a lot of things said about the election being stolen, how Antifa are communists, and Greg Abbott is the devil…. you know, the usual.
Aside from the group that West took a photo with, there were at least two other militia groups out there. About 51 minutes in Greene interviews a 3%er. He said they were out there to protect the police and the capital from terrorists, like Antifa.
He then said that they back the blue, as long as they honor their oath. How is it that these people still don’t understand they are the terrorists? Greene was also in DC on the 6th. Anyway, back to txlege.
The House rules session lasted two days. Although, both the Senate and the House had called for a recess until this week, the Capitol is now closed because of lunatics. They should readjourn the next week.
Several amendments were introduced on day one and failed.
- Matt Schaefer introduced an amendment to raise the Texas legislature office budget. The amendment failed, 43-103.
- Schaefer also introduced an amendment to restrict using office budgets/taxpayer money on subscriptions to periodicals that take strong political positions and endorse candidates. Schaefer said specifically, he wants to make sure that taxpayer dollars “don’t fund left-wing media.” The Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle were used as specific examples. The amendment failed, 35-110. Schaefer wins an Anti Award© for targeting “left-wing” media.
HD32 Todd Hunter started the debate on the House rules.
Bryan Slaton introduced an amendment to the rules that would block Democrats from holding chairs on any key committees. Slaton really hates bipartisanship, which is why he gets another Anti Award©. The amendment failed, 10-127.
HD94 Tony Tinderholt at one point had to ask the speaker to tell the rest of the house to shut up. Then TX128 Briscoe Cain came up to the mic and gave a nauseating speech about how conservative he is. He still voted against Slaton’s bill, because he didn’t want Texas to be like D.C.
HD67 Jeff Leach (R), threw shade at Slaton at one point almost calling him (Jonathan) Stickland.
Slaton said, “that was cute.” We agree.
If we are going into this session with Republicans at each other, it’s going to make a very entertaining legislative session.
Every single one of the Democrat redistricting amendments failed. Those included:
- Expand the size of the House redistricting committee from 15 members to 21
- Some virtual testimony -requiring live stream of all committee meetings regardless of venue
- Analysis to evaluate map impact on voters of color
Which means, Texas is setting themselves up for redistricting litigation.
HD33 Justin Holland proposed an amendment that would ban blue jeans, then refused to take questions, then withdrew his amendment.
Bryan Slaton proposed an amendment that the txlege wouldn’t rename any streets or bridges until abortion is abolished in Texas.
Then, Tinderholt proposed an amendment to Slaton’s amendment, which said that no streets or bridges would be renamed until the entire Republican platform is passed.
What the heck do these guys have against street names? No idea, but Anti Awards© to both of them.
Tinderholt also spoke about how folks spent $1 million to get him elected, which is sleazy and earned him his second Anti Award© for the week. The amendment failed.
This is Bryan Slaton’s first legislative session.
He’s sticking out and fighting hard to be recognized as the worst legislator of the 87th. Regardless of who wins, it’s clear, Slaton should be a one-term rep.
The Anti Awards© scoreboard will be updated shortly.