“The Back Mic” is a weekly look inside Texas politics and policy presented by The Texan. In just a few bullet points every Friday, you’ll know about the critical developments from the candidates, elected officials, and policies that impact Texans everywhere.
Texas GOP 2020 Strategy Memo Leaked to Texas Democrats
In a story published by the Dallas Morning News this week, a memo outlining the Texas Republican Party’s strategies going into a contentious 2020 election cycle was detailed after it found its way into the hands of Texas Democrats.
Here’s what’s been reported so far:
- Twelve specific House districts are listed as Republican targets, all of which were held by Republicans prior to being flipped by the Democrats in 2018: Michelle Beckley (HD 65), Rhetta Bowers (HD 113), John Bucy (HD 136), Gina Calanni (HD 132), Vikki Goodwin (HD 47), Julie Johnson (HD 115), Terry Meza (HD 105), Ana-Maria Ramos (HD 102), Jon Rosenthal (HD 135), James Talarico (HD 52), John Turner (HD 114), and Erin Zwiener (HD 45).
- The memo outlined efforts to launch microsites, a commonly used campaign tactic in which the opposition secures a website URL similar to the candidate’s and uses it to campaign against the candidate.
- President Trump was identified as having a “polarizing nature.”
- New challenges in the inaugural absence of straight-ticket voting and production of a video meant to highlight diversity among Republican candidates were also reportedly addressed.
- Manny Garcia, Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party, said in a statement, “Republicans have already fumbled the ball and we aren’t even in 2020 yet…Texas is the biggest battleground state and Texas Democrats are poised to win in 2020.”
- James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, told The Texan, “We at the Republican Party of Texas are working on winning races all across Texas and growing support among both Republican and swing voters. It’s revealing that the Dallas Morning News reporter thinks that’s newsworthy.”
Speaker Bonnen Issues Texas House Interim Charges
The Interim Charges for the Texas House committees were released earlier this week. Here are some highlights:
- The first charge given to the Appropriations Committee is “specifically monitor implementation of appropriations” for legislation relating to human and sex trafficking.
- The Urban Affairs Committee is tasked with examining “municipal ordinances relating to the short term rental industry, paid sick leave policies, and homelessness issues.”
- The Ways and Means Committee is tasked with examining ways of “providing property tax relief, including potential sources of revenue that may be used to reduce or eliminate school district maintenance and operations property tax rates.”
- Committees are also tasked with examining the effects of many pieces of legislation that were passed this past legislative session, like SB 2 (property tax reform), HB 3 (school finance reform), and SB 21 (raises the age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21).
View the 51-page document detailing the charges here.
Lt. Governor Patrick Commissions New Senate Chamber Review Committee
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick appointed a new committee, set to “review the history and procedures for the placement of art and other decor in the historic Texas Senate Chamber.”
Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) will chair the committee, which, including Hughes, will be comprised of four Republicans and three Democrats.
McKenzie Taylor serves as Operations Manager and resident plate-spinner for The Texan. Previously, she worked as State Representative Kyle Biedermann’s Capitol Director during the 85th legislative session before moving to Fort Worth to manage Senator Konni Burton’s campaign. In her free time, you might find her enjoying dog memes, staring at mountains, or proctoring personality tests.