House Republican Caucus Votes to Change Its Rules for Picking Speaker

AUSTIN - The House Republican Caucus on Friday voted unanimously to select the House speaker by a majority caucus vote, which would pressure members to fall in line with the caucus' selection when all 150 House members elect a speaker at the beginning of each session. The first such vote will take place next December, a month before the start of the 2019 legislative session.The caucus' decision, which was reached after an hour-and-a-half-long meeting at the John H. Reagan Building on the Capitol grounds, could set the tone for the next legislative session, which will be the first under a new speaker since 2009. For years, far-right Republicans have tried to amend the caucus' rules on how to pick the speaker in attempts to unseat Speaker Joe Straus, a business-oriented Republican from San Antonio, whose conservative bona fides they often questioned. Straus, who was considered a moderate voice and fostered bipartisanship, was criticized by conservatives last session for fighting the so-called bathroom bill and stalling a controversial property tax bill. In a surprise announcement, Straus decided in October not to seek re-election, giving his opponents their best shot in a decade to elect a speaker who would be more favorable to their causes. Straus did not attend the caucus meeting.  Continue reading...

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