Joe Straus Opposition Builds Among Freshmen; Van Taylor Endorses Ken Paxton For Texas Speaker

November 30, 2010

Rep. Van Taylor announced today that he is supporting Rep. Ken Paxton for Texas Speaker of the House.  The other person who have filed to become Texas Speaker are Rep. Warren Chisum, and the incumbent Texas Speaker, Joe Straus.

Click here for full release. Rep.VanTaylorEndorsesPaxtonforSpeaker

“The Speaker of the House of Representatives is one of the most powerful and influential political figures in the state, vested with the responsibility of overseeing the course of lawmaking in every area of possible interest to any Texan.”   Texas Federal Court Judge, Lee Yeakel.

What are the actual powers and duties of the Texas Speaker of the House?  Click here.

Sign the letter to support a conservative for Texas Speaker.

Straus Chairman Shuts Out Public From Speaker Race “Threats” Information at so-called “Public Hearing”

November 24, 2010

Here is the statement we released yesterday.

Public Hears Only Ten Minutes Following Three Hours in Closed Meeting

AUSTIN, Texas, November 23, 2010 – Today, Liberty Institute attended the Texas House Ethics Committee meeting in which the committee Chairman, Chuck Hopson (appointed by Straus) and the committee heard claims of political revenge in the Speaker of the House race and redisctricting process.  When the hearing began, Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) was named as the Texas House member who allegedly told Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) that elected House members would be punished for not supporting current Speaker Joe Straus.  Specifically, Rep. Hughes claims that Rep. Phillips said that redistricting maps were already being drawn to get rid of newly elected Rep. Erwin Cain (R-Sulphur Springs) and Rep. Dan Flynn (R-Van). 

The hearing was officially posted as a public hearing, but Committee Chair Chuck Hopson (appointed by Straus) announced that he would close the hearing and ultimately only allowed the public to hear ten minutes of committee discussions that lasted more than three house behind closed doors.

In response to today’s developments, Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs at Liberty Institute, released the following statement:

“It is outrageous that the public and media were effectively shut out from hearing important details about alleged threats related to the Texas Speaker of the House race made by an elected official and member of the Straus leadership team. “

“With Rep. Hopson’s anti-free speech letter last week and his near-shutout of the public today, the chairman appears dead set on hiding relevant information from Texas voters about speaker politics.”

Closed Session Dominates so-called “Public Hearing” on Straus Supporter, Rep. Larry Phillips Named As Alleged House Member, Source of “Threat” of Punishment For Speaker Joe Straus Opposers

November 23, 2010

Update!!:  12;48 p.m.  House committee, chaired by Rep. Chuck Hopson (appointed by Joe Straus) emerges from closed/executive session, over three (3) hours later. 

Rep. Bryan Hughes speaks first, asks to be placed under oath and such request is granted.  Rep. Hughes repeats the statements made in his letter early this month, stands by his recalling of what he heard Rep. Larry Phillips say (see Hughes letter below). Rep. Phillips said that Rep. Hughes statements about redistricting were false. Rep. Phillips says that no such redistricting maps are being drawn. 

Rep. Hughes says that Rep. Chisum and Rep.-elect Landtroop were also mentioned by Rep. Phillips regarding redistricting issues.  According to Rep. Hughes, he was told by Rep. Phillips that Rep. Landtroop could be protected.

Following the ten (10) minutes of a “public hearing”, Rep. Hughes tooks questions from the media.  Rep. Phillips immediately left the hearing room.

Chairman Hopson (appointed by Speaker Joe Straus) concludes not enough information at this time to make any decision about misconduct.  Hearing adjourns.

Rep. Hughes stated to the press that he called Rep. Phillips before he sent out his letter with such allegations in question.  See Hughes letter below.


We’re at the Texas Capitol, at the House General Investigating and Ethics Committee hearing, regarding allegation made related to Speaker Joe Straus support.  The committee came to order briefly.  Present were: Chairman Chuck Hopson (appointed by Straus), Rep. Creighton, Rep. Hunter. 

Rep. Larry Phillips was named as the Texas House member that Rep. Bryan Hughes said called him and discussed how a redistricting map was already being drawn to get rid of Republicans Rep. Erwin Cain and Rep. Dan Flynn as punishment for not supporting Joe Straus for Speaker, but that Rep. Hughes would be safe as long as he supported Straus.

See the letter here with Hughes’ detailed description of the call between he and Rep. Larry Phillips.  BryanHughesWithdrawsSupportFor Straus

Chairman Hopson (apppointed by Straus) made some important annoucements:

1. Rep. Larry Phillips has recused himself from the committee hearing, as he is a member of this committee that is conducting the investigation.

2. The hearing would limited to the one purpose, the allegations made in Rep. Hughes’ letter.  I assume this means the Rep. Hopson has backed off his efforts to investigate people’s free speech activities, who dared give their opinion about the Texas Speaker of the House race.  We’ll see.  Hearing is technically not over yet.

3. The hearing would take place in private, and the public and media would be shut out of the important discussions between Rep. Phillips, Rep. Hughes, and the House committee.

See our letter here, expressing our concerns about Rep. Hopson’s negative statements about speech by private citizens in the Texas Speaker race.

We are still in the hearing room and we await the return of the committee members and Rep. Hughes from Chairman Hopson’s closed session.

New video opposing Straus has surfaced. 

Paxton Over Straus Again: Six Members-Elect Choose Ken Paxton for Texas Speaker

November 22, 2010

Add six (6) more names to the list of House member and members-elect who have now decided to vote against Speaker Joe Straus and are now supporting Rep. Ken Paxton.

The newly elected State Representatives adding their names to the Paxton support list are:  Cindy Burkett, Bill Zedler (formerly on Straus support list), Charles Perry, Jim Landtroop, Kenneth Sheets, and David Simpson.

Texas Speaker Race Update: Liberty Institute Sends Legal Letter to House Members

November 18, 2010

Today, Liberty Institute delivered a letter to all the Texas State House of Representatives members and members-elect explaining their legal right to communicate with their constituents on the Speaker of the House race. On Monday, Rep. Hopson sent a letter telling House members they could be breaking the law and risking jail time if “influence[d]” by their constituents on who the next the Texas Speaker should be.

“We fought a lawsuit over this very issue and won,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO of Liberty Institute. “Vague threats to try to intimidate Legislators and Texas citizens are baseless and won’t work.”

Liberty Institute’s letter states, “…the law is clear. Citizens, organizations, corporations, and legislators enjoy broad protection to discuss who shall be selected as Speaker. Any attempt to chill that constitutionally protected speech is illegal.”

Texas Speaker Endorsement: Mike Huckabee Chooses Ken Paxton

November 17, 2010

Click here for full details.

Speaker Joe Straus Details: Selected By 65 Democrats & Only 11 Republicans: 

Strong Planned Parenthood/NARAL Support:

Choose Life License Plate Bill Denied:

Sonogram Bill Denied: 

Denial of Voting Rights on State Board of Education:

Speaker Straus Support Continues to Drop: Republicans Consider a Caucus Vote

November 15, 2010

Quorum Report is reporting that the Texas House Republican Caucus is considering taking a “straw poll” on whether or not the Republican Caucus should have a caucus vote, to select the next Texas Speaker of the House.

Last session, the Democratic Party essentially selected the Texas Speaker of the House, even though the Democrats did not have a majority of the House members.   The current Texas Speaker, Republican Joe Straus was only able to secure a pledge of 11 Republicans and received support from 65 Democrats, which gave him the 76 votes he needed to become the Texas Speaker of the House. 

Many believe that because Republicans have the majority of the House members, that the Texas Speaker of the House should be chosen by Republicans, and not have Democrats essentially choosing the Republican Speaker of the House.

Tell your Texas House member that you want a conservative Texas Speaker of the House.  Contact information is here.

Sign the letter asking for a conservative Texas Speaker of the House.

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