Rep. Hopson on Free Speech and Transparency in Speaker Race: No Thanks!

Great Summary of the Texas Speaker of the House issues and details about tomorrow’s important Texas House General Investigating and Ethics Committee hearing.

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House Ethics Committee Hearing on Revenge by Redistricting Claims in Speaker Race:

AUSTIN, Texas, November 22, 2010 – Tomorrow at 9 a.m. in Room E2.028 of the Texas Capitol, the Texas House General Investigating & Ethics Committee will have a public hearing to address claims of political revenge in the Speaker’s race and the redistricting process. Another part of the hearing is expected to include Committee Chair Chuck Hopson’s investigation of writings and words of private citizens speech about the Texas Speaker of the House race, of which Rep. Hopson has already been critical.

Rep. Bryan Hughes stated that a House member of Speaker Joe Straus’ leadership team contacted him and made it clear that there would be punishment for House members not on the Straus support list, such as Rep. Erwin Cain and Rep. Dan Flynn, by drawing a redistricting map in such a way to get rid of such members.  According to news reports, the House member who allegedly made the threats of punishment for not supporting Straus will be at the hearing and other individuals have been subpoenaed to testify at the hearing. 

The committee hearing notice titles this a “Public Hearing,” but does indicate that a decision could be made to shut the public out from this hearing.  At least one media source is reporting that Rep. Hopson is now making it clear that he plans to the shut out the public during discussions about House member allegations.  Rep. Hopson is expected to allow the public to be present during the investigation of acts of free speech by private citizens that he believes has “violated some codes.”

Liberty Institute will be present at the hearing, and is available to offer comments and analysis on the Speaker of the House race.  Liberty Institute recently sent a letter to all of the Texas House members and members-elect explaining their legal right to communicate with their constituents on the Speaker race.  In 2008, Liberty Institute won a lawsuit which now gives citizens and groups the right to speak out on who serves as Texas Speaker of the House, which had been illegal (Free Market Foundation v. Reisman).  The vote for or against a Speaker candidate is a legislative vote, just like voting for or against legislation.

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