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.
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
(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.
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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