Historic Vote Sees TX House Speaker Censured

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan | Image by Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

A historic vote on Saturday has led to the censuring of Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan.

The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) State Executive Committee (SEC) voted 55-4, with four abstaining, to pass a resolution censuring Phelan (R-Beaumont) on the grounds that he allegedly demonstrated a “lack of fidelity to Republican principles and priorities,” according to a news release.

In accordance with RPT’s Rule 44, elected officials can be censured if more than three such violations occur in a given two-year period, which in this case began on June 18, 2022.

Since purportedly appearing drunk on the House floor last May and orchestrating the failed impeachment of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton— an effort that cost taxpayers over $4.2 million — Phelan has come under fire from his own party, as covered by The Dallas Express.

The resolution voted on by the SEC on February 10 listed five grievances against Phelan that allegedly violated RPT principles and priorities. They were as follows:

In an alleged violation of Texas Government Code 665.081, Phelan “referred and promoted” the resolution to impeach Paxton.

In an alleged violation of RPT’s fifth core principle “Personal Accountability and Responsibility,” Phelan “unjustifiably and irresponsibly wasted Texas taxpayer money” in attempting to impeach Paxton.

In an alleged violation of RPT’s fifth legislative priority “No Democratic Chairs,” Phelan appointed nine Democratic chairs to House committees on February 8, 2023.

In an alleged violation of RPT ‘s second legislative priority, Phelan allowed a border protection bill — HB 20 — “to die by sustaining a spurious point of order” on May 9, 2023.

In an alleged violation of RPT’s eighth legislative priority “Parental Rights and Educational Freedom,” Phelan did not show his support and appointed conferees known to be against school choice to a conference committee with the Senate that allowed an education bill containing an Educational Savings Account program — HB 100 — to die.

As RPT reported, the resolution to censure Phelan was first passed to the SEC after two of the three counties comprising Phelan’s home district — Jasper County and Orange County — supported it, with Jefferson County opposing it. As previously covered by The Dallas Express, an earlier effort to censure Phelan was thwarted by Orange County last summer.

“When you empower Democrats, by definition, you disempower Republicans, and that been the record of Dade Phelan,” said Matt Rinaldi, RPT chairman, according to the Texas Scorecard.

Phelan is up for reelection this year but as a result of the censure he has lost RPT funding and has been discouraged from participating in the Republican Party primary.

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