As the Republican Party of Texas Convention continued today in San Antonio, members of the temporary rules committee have tentatively decided to maintain Rule 44, the party’s mechanism through which Republican lawmakers can be censured for failing to uphold the party’s principles.
Originally added to the party’s rules during the 2016 convention in Dallas, the rule states:
A County or Senatorial District Convention or a County or District Executive Committee may by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of those present and voting adopt a resolution censuring a Republican public or party office holder representing all or a portion of that County or District for three or more actions taken during the current biennium in opposition to the core principles of the Republican Party of Texas defined in the Preamble of the Party Platform as described in Rule No. 43A.
Many activists had raised concerns after the requirement that 2/3 of the entire body vote in favor of a censure, as opposed to those present, led to SREC members leaving the room and walking votes on censure resolutions, including failed resolutions to censure Speaker Joe Straus and State Rep. Byron Cook. Both failed after members left the room, effectively casting “no” votes.
At a subsequent meeting, the SREC later successfully passed a resolution censuring Straus, but was unable to overcome the 2/3 required to censure Cook.
But while a suggested change to a 2/3 present requirement will not be in the bylaws suggested by the committee, proponents of the rule should celebrate that the rule was not weakened or altogether thrown out, as had been suggested by many in the party’s old establishment.
All delegates to the convention will have their opportunity to approve the final set of rules on Friday. Delegates may also amend the report on the floor to alter Rule 44.
Texas Scorecard is on-site in San Antonio and will continue to report on updates as the convention continues through the week.