With a lame-duck speaker, Texas House confronts the work of the interim

With a lame-duck speaker, Texas House confronts the work of the interim

October 23, 2019

For the next 14 months, the powerful committee chairmen who called for House Speaker Dennis Bonnen to step down will be asked to carry out his will for their committees — and every decision the speaker makes will be viewed in the shadow of demise.

The Texas House may have been in turmoil on Tuesday — reeling from the news that its once-revered leader, Dennis Bonnen, would relinquish the seat he’s represented since 1997 and with it the speaker’s gavel — but in Houston, urgent business continued apace.

In the student services building at Lone Star College, state Rep. Phil King gaveled in the Texas House Redistricting Committee for the fifth of more than two dozen hearings the Weatherford Republican plans to convene across the state between now and the 2021 legislative session.

“Our path is plotted and everything is in great shape,” King said in an interview before the hearing. The message was clear: Bonnen drama or no, the Legislature’s work continues.

The disruption to House leadership comes during the 18-month gap between Texas’ biennial 140-day legislative sessions — typically a lull in the governing process when committees set off to complete studies for future legislation and most lawmakers return to their districts to secure their reelection. For the speaker, that interim period involves working with the governor and lieutenant governor on executive budgeting decisions, directing the work of legislative committees like the redistricting panel and helping his colleagues win reelection, usually with a hefty campaign account.

Credit by - The Texas tribune

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