ICYMI: Texas House Rules Adopted Unanimously, Texas Constitution Still Exists
Texas House Rules and Constitution afford House lawmakers the ability to compel the attendance of absent members
AUSTIN - In case you missed it, on January 14, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives, including the entire House Democrat Caucus, voted unanimously to adopt the Rules of the Texas House of Representatives. In adopting the House rules, Texas Democrats unanimously authorized Rule 5, Section 8 to secure a quorum, a rule which makes clear that all absent members who break quorum may be compelled to return to the House to do the jobs they were elected to do.
In other breaking news, the Texas Constitution was ratified in 1876. Article 3, Section 10 of the State Constitution authorizes each chamber to compel the attendance of absent members in accordance with the House rules.
Today’s announcement follows yesterday’s action by the Texas House of Representatives to send the House sergeant-at-arms after the missing Texas Democrats in order to compel their attendance on the House floor. Despite having voted for the rules that permit this effort to take place, many of the missing Democrats have now taken to social media to complain. Some have even filed frivolous lawsuits – which have no place in the criminal court system -- in an attempt to block their summons back to the House floor and avoid doing their jobs.
“It is astounding the lengths to which many of my Democrat colleagues will go in order to avoid their elected duties,” said Texas House Republican Caucus Chair Jim Murphy (R-Houston). “For these Democrat members to break quorum and then turn around and cry foul over a procedure they voted for is completely disingenuous. They have made a mockery of the legislative process and our Constitution, and it is high time for their charade to come to an end. Every single member of their caucus voted to establish these rules, and these rules apply to everyone.”