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Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen Stacked Key Committee with Democrats

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Big League Politics has learned that Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen stacked the most important committee for moving legislation with a solid majority of non-Republicans, dooming many Republican bills to die.

 

Big League uncovered the revelation while reporting on why the Texas House Calendars Committee just killed the popularly-supported monuments protection bill, HB 583 — arguably an odd outcome for an ostensibly Republican-controlled Texas House with an 83-to-67 majority.

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The committee in question is the final destination for ALL legislation in the Texas House of Representatives, and is often cynically referred to as “the place good bills go to die.”
Section 15. Standing Committee Appointments — (a) The speaker
shall designate the chair and vice-chair of each standing substantive
committee and shall also appoint membership of the committee, subject to
the provisions of Rule 4, Section 2.

(b) If members of equal seniority request the same committee,
the speaker shall decide which among them shall be assigned to that
committee.

(c) In announcing the membership of the standing substantive
committees, the speaker shall designate which are appointees and which acquire membership by seniority.

(d) The speaker shall appoint the chair and vice-chair of each standing procedural committee and the remaining membership of the committee.

(e) If a new speaker is elected to fill a vacancy in the office after the
appointment of standing committees, the new speaker may not alter the composition of any standing committee before the end of the session, except that the new speaker may:

(1) vacate the new speaker’s membership on any committee;
(2) make committee appointments for the member who was
removed as speaker;
(3) designate a different member of a standing committee as
committee chair; and
(4) fill vacancies that occur on a committee.
(Source: page 10 and page 28 of the official House Rules manual.
While there’s no “majority” of Democrats on the committee, the case can be made that there’s not a “majority” of Republicans, either. Several members of the Texas House, who shall remain anonymous, confirmed that Speaker Bonnen stacked the committee to favor a less conservative composition — with a 5-5 partisan split (not counting Chairman Four Price’s tie-breaking vote).
The maximum majority possible would be 7-4 (but for some reason, Bonnen only allowed for a 6-5 majority, again counting Committee Chmn. Four Price.) It is widely known Bonnen and Four Price were the two former Speaker Joe Strauss was grooming as his replacement.
That means that at least one or two Republicans had to vote against monument protection legislation (and other conservative priority bills) for them to fail.
Where it concerns committee appointments, one House member stated, “After the half by seniority the rest are up to the speaker.”
The Speakers usually don’t stack the deck but could. But this rule does not apply to the Calendars Committee, explained the same House member to Big League Politics. “The calendar committee is all speaker chosen,” he remarked, adding that, “Seniority doesn’t apply to procedural committees like calendars.”
House majority breakdown versus minority:
(Source: Texas House of Representatives, official website.)
Per state rules, committees of the Texas House of Representatives are assigned half by seniority and half by the Speaker of the House. Representatives select three committees they wish to serve on, and half of a committee’s seats are filled in this manner based on seniority. In the case of equal seniority, the Speaker decides the seat. Once half of each committee is selected through this method, the Speaker appoints the rest of the committees.
Committees are assigned at the start of each legislative session. A majority of appointed members make up a committee’s quorum. The Speaker is not recognized as an “ex officio” member of any committee.

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Trump Pardons 9/11 Hero & Ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik

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On February 18, 2020, President Donald Trump announced the pardon of Bernard Kerik, the former NYPD commissioner who spent time in prison for tax fraud and lying to the government.

This news came hours after Trump pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner was convicted in a gambling fraud scandal. DeBartolo Jr. built one of the most successful franchises in NFL history.

Kerik was nominated to be the nation’s head of homeland security on one occasion and spent three years in prison before being released in 2013.

He was viewed as a hero for leading the NYPD during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However, Kerik’s image took a hit when he became the first New York City police commissioner to be imprisoned for federal crimes.

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His legal problems spilled over and muddied the political aspirations of other elected officials, such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

While leaving the White House Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he “pardoned” Kerik “a man who had many recommendations from a lot of good people.”

After being pardoned, Kerik went on Twitter to thank the president writing that “there are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude to President Trump. He continued by saying that “with the exception of the birth of my children, today is one of the greatest days in my life.”

Kerik proceed to describe his prison experience as “dying with your eyes open,’ citing the “collateral consequences and the permanent loss of many of your civil and constitutional rights are personally devastating.”

Kerik volunteered to be Giuliani’s chauffeur and provided security during his first unsuccessful run for mayor. Once he secured the mayor’s office in 1993, Giuliani promoted Kerik, a high school dropout, to the highest echelons of New York City government.

The mayor eventually promoted his former bodyguard as the city’s 40th police commissioner in 2001.

Kerik almost became President George Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary in 2004, but he was quickly dropped as a nominee.

Two days afterwards, The Daily News reported that Larry Ray, who had been the best man at Kerik’s wedding, had presented evidence of Kerik failing to report thousands of dollars in gifts he’d received while he was an employee of New York City.

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