List Circulating in State House to Vacate Speaker’s Chair, Joe Straus

By Mark Feldt, Texas Insider

Word around the Texas House of Representatives is that a phantom list of nearly 76 signatures is circulating that will take out Speaker Joe Straus when the time is right. A few representatives wishing to remain anonymous have told Texas Insider they have signed the sheet calling for a motion to remove the speaker.
When the House debated the Rules early this session, an interesting debate ensued – one that most people thought was moot once Tom Craddick was no longer speaker. Last session, Speaker Craddick was heavily criticized for his decision not to recognize members who were trying to push the legislative session off its tracks in its final days.

The issue in question was the infamous Rule 5, Section 24, which addresses recognition by the speaker.
This session, though a new speaker was named, (one many touted as bringing peace back to the House,) the issue of recognition was still at hand. Ultimately, the majority of House members voted to allow a speaker to be removed mid-session if, after a member called for his removal, the speaker denied it, and then 76 members signed an appeal to remove him.

But who ever thought members would use this new rule?
Fast forward a few weeks. We are now two-and-a-half months into the 81st Legislature. Committees and chairmanships have been assigned, and all of a sudden members are second guessing the choice for speaker.

Many Democrats had high hopes for plumb chair posts and committee assignments, but when appointments came out they were surprised to see their support for Straus didn’t pay off they way they anticipated.
Consequently, a large number of Democrats and a few Republicans have signed a list that may unseat Speaker Straus when the time is right. It has been rumored that the proper timing would be shortly after the budget passes the House, which it is expected to go for a vote the week after Easter (April 12).
The obvious irony in all of this, is that the coalition of 11 Republicans and 60+ Democrats who worked so hard to unseat Craddick finally have power. Rather than ensure they keep power, this same coalition made it even easier to oust a speaker mid-session by setting the bar for removal of the Speaker at 76 votes in the House Rules. A group of Republicans and a handful of Democrats failed in a vote to set the bar at 90 votes.
For the Democrats, the vote is obvious. Every Democrat would rather have a Democrat for speaker than a Republican. By removing the Republican chosen by 60+ Democrats and the 11 Republicans, Democrats hope to replace Speaker Straus with a Democrat immediately or throw the House into chaos without a Speaker. 
For Republicans signing the list, the motives appear less clear.  Some may hope to bring back Tom Craddick as Speaker, or simply improve position in committee assignments or with a subsequent Speaker.
Just as the final days of last session tested the strength of Tom Craddick and his opponents, this session appears headed for a test of the strength of Joe Straus and his opponents.


  1. I have not received your publication for some time .
    Please put my name back on youur mailing list thanks, William Moore

  2. I totally agree with you cwjensen!

    I would like to see a list of those who voted for Straus to replace Craddick.

    Who are these 11 republicans????

  3. The “Moderate” Republicans have No place in Texas or Washington politics………………………………….We need to return the party to strong conservative values before the liberals turn our country into a third rate European style Socialist bankrupt want a be.

  4. It seems we have a history of electing people,without knowing who we are choosing,,,,Reference in point is Barney Frank,,Spkr Queen Pelosi, His Majesty himself, the POTUS,,and now we’re picking on poor Joe,,,My self,, I’d prefer a totally clean slate,,,Maybe an entire new slate would at least learn something from the past,,,Doubtful,,but at least we can alsways hope,,,And for a previuos lister,,When have you ever applied for a job,,and have all your back ground sealed from scrutiny,,,Birth records, school admissions,,Pass port,,We really dont have a clue who this guy is,,,,and Dems are afraid to ask.

  5. The speaker question is simply the Democrats trying to take control. The republicans who are working with the dems should realize they will be shafted once dems have control.

    Look at Pelosi

  6. Yes Dixie, ‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’, Maybe ol’ Tom C. wasn’t such a bad guy after all!

  7. It’s not Straus’ doing in “hogging the limelight.”

    For those who put Straus in & now want him out–guess it’s a good lesson in knowing what your picking before you pick it.

  8. I haven’t heard too much out of Straus. Everything has been kinda blinded by Perry’s half-A stimulus rejection.

    But Speaker Joe didn’t strike me as the kinda backbone to hog media limelight.

    I’d give anything for the return of Craddick.

  9. Jean – your posting has absolutely no relevance to the context of the article. If you wish to raise doubts about the birth place of the POTUS there are hundreds of other locations on the internet for you to do so that will allow readers/commenters of the Texas Insider to stay on point. Your attempts to distract and “rile up” are useless.

  10. Good idea! But where were these people when Obama’s birthplace was in dispute? Why does everyone fall for the Certificate of Live Birth & think that’s a birth certificate? Why aren’t the anomolies on his Selective Service Card noted & questioned? Why are the statements of his grandmother Sarah and the Ambassador of Kenya ignored. THEY have stated that the house where Obama was born is a known location – nospecial marker as “President of the United States needed; “everyone knows where it is”. Many lawsuits have been brought to courts only to be dismissed without so much as a review!

  11. My thoughts from the beginning of all this were that Straus would not be our speaker going into the 2011 session.

    Now wondering if this will happen sooner than some of us thought.

    Are committee assignment effected if the Speaker is removed? What is the motivation for all this activity?

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