Texas House starts with fight over rules, powers
AUSTIN (AP) — Lawmakers in the Texas House are debating new ground rules, with tea party activists arguing for more transparency.
Amarillo Rep. John Smithee introduced the resolution setting out the rules, which would make few changes from the last session. But lawmakers of all political stripes lined up to make amendments, both to strengthen and weaken Speaker Joe Straus.
The House cannot take up any business until the rules resolution passes.
Tea party conservatives are pushing for greater transparency in what happens to the bills they file, to what committees they are assigned and whether they come up for a vote.
State Rep. David Simpson, a Longview Republican, complained last week about how senior lawmakers, including the speaker, control what bills come up for a vote and how committee assignments are made.