Texas

Texas House Selects Rep. Dade Phelan to Speaker in Another Legislative Session

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Members of the Texas House of Representatives voted 145 to 3 on Tuesday to elect a member of the state House of Representatives. Dade PhelanR-Beaumont, for a second term as speaker, is the most powerful position in the lower house.

He defeated a member of the state House of Representatives. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, who was nominated by ultra-conservative members who believe that Phelan is being unreasonably accommodating to House Democrats. Tinderholt voted for himself, as did the two Republican members who nominated him. Nate Schatzline Tarrant County and Brian Slayton Royce City.

Phelan said he will push bills through the House that get the support of a majority of members and also ensure that minority lawmakers have a meaningful voice.

He said it was important to keep this Texas House tradition alive. “Our rules keep the game fair, but they don’t determine the outcome,” Phelan said. “We will have divisions – every session has them – but that division should not define us.”

Phelan, a 47-year-old financial broker, was first elected two years ago. He replaced one-term Speaker Dennis Bonnen, who resigned after becoming embroiled in secret recording scandal in 2019 when he beat up members of his party.

Phelan led the House of Representatives through the 2021 legislative sessions, which some observers called the “most conservative” in the state’s history. Legislators passed new laws banning nearly all abortions and allowing unauthorized wearing pistols.

[By tradition, the minority party gets to chair some Texas House committees. Some in the GOP want to end that.]

But conservative grassroots activists said the House of Representatives didn’t go far enough on conservative priorities like banning gender-affirming concern for transgender children and often quarreled with Phelan. He was attacked by critics for appointing Democrats to leadership positions in the House after long-standing chamber tradition appoint members of the minority party as chairmen of committees. Phelan has not moved on the issue, pointing out that he plans to allow some Democratic chairs again and arguing that the Texas House works better on a bipartisan basis and avoids the divisions seen in Washington, DC.

He also said that the Conservatives achieved their goals despite the fact that the Democrats are in the lead. However, his critics rallied around the issue, and on Tuesday, activists at the gallery wore red shirts that read “BAN Chairs Democrats!”

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