With the primary elections over, and virtually every seat in the Texas House of Representatives decided, attention is turning to how the recent election results will affect, if at all, the running of Texas’ lower chamber.
While conservatives (including the Pro-Life community) ousted three senior members loyal to Speaker Joe Straus (the ringleader crushing Pro-Life legislation over the last three consecutive sessions), and stopped another anti-Life Republican Representative from reaching the Texas State Senate, the question remains: Will the threat of consequences from bad records force apathetic Republicans to demand actions to protect Life?
Predicting the tone of the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature, the mainstream Dallas Morning News opined, “The results pull the Senate further to the right, even as Straus remains a shoo-in to win another term as speaker and counteract at least some of [Dan] Patrick’s agenda, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.”
Jones couldn’t be more right. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is beloved by grassroots conservatives, and has long been a vocal proponent of advancing the Culture of Life at every opportunity. Jones’ prediction is based on a history of conservative reforms flying through the Texas Senate, yet mercilessly killed by Speaker Straus and his loyalist team.
Even though both leaders have the required “R” behind their name, political and policy watchers across the state recognize Lt. Governor Patrick and Speaker Straus are worlds apart on actually bringing Republican policies into fruition as law.
As the dust settles from elections, and with an eye toward the impending legislative session, everyone is wondering if constituents will pay attention. Will constituents pay enough attention to whom their newly elected officials are following, and the substance (or lack thereof) of policy emerging from both chambers?