The Back MicThe Back Mic: GOP Members Voted to Kill a Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Bill, Legislature Spars Over Progress, Staffer Resigns After Date-Rape Report

This week — a group of Republicans vote to kill the taxpayer-funded lobbying ban, House and Senate bicker over session accomplishments, and the staffer at the center of the lobbyist date-rape drug false allegations resigns.
May 28, 2021
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Republicans Who Voted to Postpone Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying Ban

Legislation to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying failed to pass on the Texas House’s deadline night. After a lengthy behind-the-scenes fight over the watered-down legislation with Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), bill sponsor Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) moved to postpone consideration until September — killing the legislation this session.

Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), a supporter of banning taxpayer-funded lobbying, objected to the motion, triggering a division vote to approve or reject Paddie’s request. In all, 28 Republicans voted to approve the motion:

  • Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco)
  • Trent Ashby(R-Lufkin)
  • DeWayne Burns (R-Cleburne)
  • Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches)
  • Jake Ellzey (R-Waxahachie)
  • John Frullo (R-Lubbock)
  • Gary Gates (R-Richmond)
  • Sam Harless (R-Spring)
  • Cody Harris (R-Palestine)
  • Dan Huberty (R-Houston)
  • Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi)
  • Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond)
  • Kyle Kacal (R-College Station)
  • Ken King (R-Canadian)
  • Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • John Kuempel (R-Seguin)
  • Stan Lambert (R-Abilene)
  • Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)
  • Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio)
  • J.M. Lozano (R-Kingsville)
  • Morgan Meyer (R-Dallas)
  • Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria)
  • Andrew Murr (R-Junction)
  • Chris Paddie (R-Marshall)
  • Four Price (R-Amarillo)
  • John Raney (R-College Station)
  • Lynn Stucky (R-Denton)
  • Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston)
House and Senate Leadership Spar Over Session Progress

During the Senate’s floor proceeding Wednesday night, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick took a swipe at the opposite chamber over its progress on legislation through the session. 

“Not here Friday, not here Saturday, quit already [for the night]. Major Senate bills killed last night for all the members, but we’re continuing to work,” he said from the dais.

The Texan Tumbler

Patrick was incensed at the death of three big-ticket pieces of legislation in the House at its Tuesday night deadline — the transgender sports bill, big tech censorship, and a ban on taxpayer-funded lobbying. So provoked was Patrick, that he called for a special session to pass those issues.

Responding to Patrick’s abrasion, chair of the powerful Calendars Committee Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) inquired on the floor about the legislative numbers both chambers have posted.

“Is it true, Mr. Speaker, that the House sent 1,250 bills to the Senate?” he asked Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont). “Is it also true that 100 of those bills were never referred [to committee]?”

Less than 50 percent of the House’s bills, according to Burrows, were passed by the Senate.

Burrows then stated that of the Senate bills sent to the House, the lower chamber referred 99 percent of those to committees, of which 88 percent were considered.

In total, Burrows stated that the House passed 99 percent of the Senate’s legislation.

Patience is wearing thin within the capitol as session winds down and results become clear — and the two chambers bicker like brothers over what they have to show for the 87th Legislative Session.

Staffer Involved in False Lobbyist Date-Rape Drug Allegations Resigns

The Odessa American reported Thursday that the legislative staffer at the center of date-rape drug allegations resigned from her position with Rep. Brooks Landgraf’s (R-Odessa) office.

Nearly a month ago, allegations of the drugging against a lobbyist circulated the capitol halls. After an investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety chose not to press charges.

The investigative report stated that the date-rape allegation was concocted to conceal the staffer’s affair from her boyfriend.

“I’m disappointed a DPS investigation concluded that a staffer lied about GHB being found in her system and propagated claims that she was drugged by a lobbyist to allegedly cover her own discretions,” Landgraf told the Odessa American.

After the allegations first surfaced, House leadership made a grand spectacle in condemning the situation. Legislators wore pink to show support for the alleged victim and the body quickly passed legislation to require lobbyists to take sexual assault training.

Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), sponsor of the bill, told the body that while this allegation happened to be false, the objective behind the legislation was still necessary.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.