The 82nd Legislative Session: LOST OPPORTUNITIES
By Pat Carlson, TEF President
The 82nd Texas Legislative Session will likely go down in history as a conservative legislative success, but with the right leadership in the House and a more conservative Senate, we could have accomplished so much more.
The images below are snapshots of the Texas Eagle Forum Legislative Score Card. A larger image will pop up by clicking on any smaller image. Our entire publication with articles on different issues regarding how your legislators voted can be downloaded here (approx 2.9mb PDF).
THE MOST CONSERVATIVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE & SENATE
Texas Eagle Forum is pleased to honor these Texas Legislators as the most conservative in the 2011 Legislative Session. We appreciate their commitment to Texas families on both social and economic issues..
- Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
- Dan Patrick (R-Houston)
- Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
- Glenn Hegar (R-Katy)
- Wayne Christian (R-Center)
- Erwin Cain (R-Como)
- Dan Flynn (R-Van)
- Phil King (R-Weatherford)
- Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker)
- Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound)
- Ken Paxton (R-McKinney)
- Jim Landtroop (R-Plainview)
- Charles Perry (R-Lubbock)
- Van Taylor (R-Plano)
- James White (R-Hillister)
- Bill Zedler (R-Arlington)
- Leo Berman (R-Tyler)
- Cindy Burkett (R-Mesquite)
- David Simpson (R-Longview)
- Brian Hughes (R-Mineola)
In 2009, The 81st Legislative Session produced little conservative legislation because of House Speaker Joe Straus, who was elected by only 11 Republicans and all the Democrats, and who appointed half of the important committee chairmanships to Democrats, despite the fact Republicans were in the majority.
In 2010, Texas voters thought electing a two-to-one majority of conservative Republicans to the Texas House would send an unmistakable message to legislators that they wanted strong conservative leadership.
Before the session began, Texas Eagle Forum, along with other conservative organizations and like-minded Texas voters, pleaded with elected Republican representatives not to elect Straus for a second term. Unfortunately, only 15 Republicans out of 101 voted the courage of their convictions (see House vote for the names of these brave legislators). TEF considered this decision so important that we felt the vote should count for half of the points on our scorecard.
Conservatives could have seen more good bills move through the House if Speaker Straus had put strong numbers of conservatives on committees. Instead he stacked important committees with his closest allies.
The Senate, too, had its share of Republican moderates posing as conservatives.
Some Missed Opportunities:
• Speaker Straus refused to bring the highly popular TSA anti-groping bill up for vote, calling it a “publicity stunt.”
• The new Texas House Redistricting Map pits Republican incumbents against each other as payback for voting against Straus for speaker.
• The American Laws for American Court (ALAC) bill could have passed the House as a stand alone bill, but the Calendars committee would not send it to the full House for a vote. Later ALAC language was added as an amendment three times to other bills, but was removed in the Senate by committee members. Senator Duncan chose to ignore 750 phone calls to his office in support of the amendment.
Despite those setbacks, the 82nd Texas Legislative Session passed a strong sonogram bill, a voter-ID bill, new accountability for homeowner associations, a loser pays in frivolous lawsuits bill, defunded Planned Parenthood, and the legislature, not only balanced the budget with no new taxes, but cut total spending by 8.1%.