The Republican Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Dennis Bonnen, took an adversarial tone when speaking about two of the GOP’s loyal constituencies- pro-lifers and gun right supporters. Bonnen was speaking to reporters at the Texas Capitol about a conservative pressure group called Empower Texans that seeks to hold Republican state legislators to their campaign promises.
Bonnen seemed to think the policy priorities proposed by groups such as Empower Texans- and other groups such as Texas Right to Life and Texas Gun Rights- are simply a waste of time. Speaking in frank terms about pro-life legislation, Bonnen shot down the possibility of bringing up new pro-life bills for a vote in the State House.
“They aren’t worth responding to,” Bonnen said in regard to accusations from conservatives that he had failed to advance pro-life legislation. “If we passed every pro-life bill filed in the history of the state, they would say we had not done enough. You will never please or appease those folks and I’m sure as hell not going to waste my time trying.”
Bonnen’s description of pro-life policies as a lost cause in the nation’s biggest Republican state left many local conservative activists scratching their heads in confusion. Texas lags well behind other Republican states in cracking down on abortion, lacking both an Alabama-style ban or a time limit akin to Missouri’s ban on abortions eight weeks into pregnancy.
Bonnen also seems to have consigned an open-carry law sought after by Second Amendment supporters to the legislative dustbin. The legislation, which failed to get a public hearing after a dispute between Bonnen and Texas gun rights organizations, would have allowed legal gun owners to openly carry weapons without a permit, placing Texas on par with several other pro-gun states such as Arizona and New Mexico.
When it comes to actually moving the ball on conservative policies, Dennis Bonnen seems to be absent without leave.
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