Texas House Debates Rules, Powers

AUSTIN (January 14, 2013)—Members of the Texas House were debating new ground rules Monday and tea party activists were 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 from both sides of the aisle lined up to introduce 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, R-Longview, complained last week about how senior lawmakers, including the speaker, control what bills come up for a vote and how committee assignments are made.

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