What Happens When a Small Band of Angry Legislators Takes Control of the Texas House? We're About to Learn

AUSTIN — Rep. Jonathan Stickland thundered down the center aisle of the Texas House, waving papers in the air and hollering at the speaker’s dais.“No!” he screamed, demanding his colleague’s questions be acknowledged. “You are hammering through this, Dennis! We have rights!”Rep. Dennis Bonnen, a top lieutenant of the House speaker, stood calmly at the dais. The chamber fell silent as Bonnen, befuddled, watched Stickland gesticulating. He adjusted his glasses and instructed Rep. Matt Schaefer to resume his questions.The Texas Freedom Caucus was fed up. That night, Stickland, Schaefer and the group’s 10 other Republican members decimated dozens of bills, exacting political retribution on GOP leaders they said failed to push far-right agenda items like anti-abortion legislation and a so-called bathroom bill.The press called it the Mother’s Day Massacre. House lawmakers who watched their bills die called it an unnecessary slaughter of good legislation, measures killed because a few legislators decided not to play nice. What everyone agreed on is the caucus handed a key bargaining chip to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Straus’ archrival who leads the Senate, one he's using to push their far-right agenda in the legislative session’s final days.  Continue reading...

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