The Texas House of Representatives will convene the 2013 legislative session on Tuesday, January 8. One if the first items of business will be electing a speaker of the house. Representative Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who was the speaker in the previous legislature, still appears to be the favorite, but the recent challenge by Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) has been gaining momentum.
In a letter dated December 27 and sent to all members of the Texas House of Representatives, Simpson (pictured) appealed to the frustrations experienced by legislators during sessions. If elected speaker, Simpson promised:
As Speaker I will also strive to give the Members a reasonable and predictable work schedule. We have come to accept the wasted hours — especially at the beginning — and the feverish and frenetic pace toward the end of the session. It does not have to be this way. We should meet and finish on time and not simply stop the clock so that we appear to meet as the rules and Constitution require.
Simpson further promised to reverse the centralization of power in the hands of the speaker, saying:
Presently, only 28% of the total number of committee positions are chosen by the Members based on seniority. By increasing the number of seniority positions available, we would be adding positions for the less senior Members. The speaker should still appoint the majority of the committee positions, but it need not be the current 72%.
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Photo: David Simpson