Smith County GOP passes resolution censuring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus

Published on Thursday, 20 July 2017 22:15 - Written by ROY MAYNARD, rmaynard@tylerpaper.com

The Smith County Republican Party has passed a resolution censuring Texas House Speaker Joe Straus. The resolution is signed by Smith County Chairman Brent Thompson, Vice Chair Marcia Daughtrey and more than 40 of the county’s Republican precinct chairs.

“The Smith County Republican Party supports a change in leadership in the Texas House,” the resolution reads, because “the current speaker habitually rejects the planks of the Republican Party of Texas platform and has disparaged Gov. Greg Abbott’s conservative agenda for the special legislative session.”

On Thursday, Thompson said Smith County GOP is taking a stand against Straus.

“A lot of our local members are concerned,” Thompson said Thursday. “We decided it was time to make a stand, and I think a lot of other counties are doing the same. Our local senators and state representatives are in support of the solid conservative agenda that Gov. Abbott has put forward, but the speaker has resisted those.”

Straus has specifically expressed his opposition to the Privacy Act, also known as the bathroom bill. It would require that people using restrooms in some government buildings use the restroom that corresponds with the sex listed on their birth certificate.

But Thompson said Straus has resisted conservative bills throughout his tenure as speaker.

Last week, the Bexar County Republican Party passed a similar resolution. Bexar is Straus’ home county.

That resolution called for Straus’ removal as speaker due to his “non-support of the RPT (Republican Party of Texas) platform.”

But state Rep. Matt Schaefer, of Tyler, says it’s not that simple. Straus was elected in January as speaker, and that election holds through as many special sessions as Abbott calls, until the next Legislature convenes in January 2019.

Straus could be removed by a motion to vacate the chair, Schaefer explained in a recent interview.

“But that motion would have to be recognized by the speaker,” Schaefer. “That’s not going to happen.”

Thompson said the Smith County Republican Party realizes that.

“This is a symbolic thing,” he said. “Rep. Schaefer is right; this isn’t going to accomplish anything more than show Speaker Straus where we stand.”