87th LegislatureElections 2022HealthcareIssuesState HouseState SenateTexas Republican Party Hopeful About Legislative Priorities, Calls for More Pressure on Lawmakers

Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) said Republicans are counting on voters, the “lowest level of local control,” to reach out to lawmakers.
May 6, 2021
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During an unusual press conference in the inverted rotunda at the Texas State Capitol, Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Chairman Allen West and members of the Texas House on Wednesday touted their progress on Republican priorities, including the “heartbeat bill” and a prohibition on sex changes for minors, while calling on grassroots conservatives to help keep up the momentum

The Texan asked West whether the RPT is preparing to defend conservative policies in court if they are entangled in litigation after potentially being signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Well, absolutely…I think that one of the things is we have to get the right balance…not have activist judges and not have people who bring these frivolous lawsuits, because either we stand by the rule of law or we don’t,” West said. “We cannot be ruled over by these people in the black robes.”

Rep. Bryan Slaton (R-Royse City), who has been a strong proponent of legislation to prohibit sex changes for minors and categorize them as child abuse, suggested the legislation should not even be controversial.

“When we get to sine die, accountability begins on the elected Republicans who serve in this building,” Slaton said, adding that he hopes that even he loses his seat if the ban does not pass.

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Also in attendance was Jeff Younger, who has advocated for bans on gender transition surgeries and treatments for children. He was involved in a heated battle for custody of his son, James, after the boy’s mother claimed he was actually a transgender girl.

Sine die refers to the official end to the regular session of the 87th legislature, which constitutionally must occur at 11:59 p.m. on May 31. Gov. Greg Abbott may call 30-day special sessions after sine die, but the legislature may not call itself into session.

West criticized the failure of Senate Bill (SB) 29 in the House Education Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. (D-Houston). SB 29 would have required public school athletes to compete within their own biological sex.

Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) praised the Texas House for giving preliminary approval of legislation to prevent the abortion of unborn children after a physician is able to detect the unborn child’s heartbeat, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act.

“We will no longer have people murdering unborn children at the time they can detect a heartbeat,” Tinderholt said.

Tinderholt also urged grassroots conservatives to put pressure on their lawmakers to advance conservative legislation.

“The big problem is we still have Republican priorities that are not moving in the House, we’re trying our darndest in the House to do it, but we really count on what I call the lowest level of local control and that’s you[…]” Tinderholt said.

RPT Legislative Priorities Chairwoman Jill Glover also appeared and echoed Tinderholt’s thoughts, saying in reference to progress thus far, “Our efforts have paid off.”

West criticized the Lamar County Democratic Party for declining to accept the resignation of its chairman, Gary O’Connor, after he called U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) a racial slur. However, West did say he was glad O’Connor had apologized.

The chairman repeated the party’s opposition to House Bill (HB) 3, which would add statutes that outline the state government’s response to pandemics. Opponents say the legislation does not place enough limits on the governor.

When asked whether he would challenge Abbott in the Republican primary for governor, West said, “I’m not here to talk about 2022 races.”

Toward the end of the press event, after West rebuked a CBS Austin reporter for arriving after the press conference began, the chairman asked him to do 30 pushups. When the reporter “respectfully declined,” West ultimately did the pushups himself.

“Don’t ever be late to another one of my press conferences again,” West said with a grin.

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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."