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Lawmaker’s Response to Constituent Over House Rules Vote Draws Criticism

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The first month of the session for the Texas Legislature some fireworks, with East Texas State Representative Bryan Slaton blasting another lawmaker in a video posted online, accusing State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) of lying about him and making disparaging remarks regarding an amendment Slaton filed to change the House rules. 

It all began during the first week of the session when the Texas House of Representatives took up consideration of HR4, the rules package that the House must vote on every session that will govern the proceedings of the chamber. 

Landgraf was one of the four co-authors who drafted the rules proposal that was submitted to the House. 

23 amendments were filed by lawmakers seeking various changes to the rules before they are adopted, including 8 from Democrats, and the rest being proposed by Republicans. 

At issue is a rule proposal by Slaton to require that only Republicans be appointed to chair the major committees of the House. Chairmen are considered gatekeepers who can single-handedly decide whether a bill lives or dies. 

Slaton said he was motivated to file the bill out of frustration that for years, voters give Republicans control of the chamber and then immediately give the power away by appointing Democrats to powerful chairmanships where they can kill Republican bills. 

The amendment failed, with only 17 members supporting the measure. Representative Landgraf joined the majority to vote against the amendment. 

When a constituent of Landgraf asked him on Facebook if he could explain his opposition to the Amendment, Landgraf wrote a lengthy response that quickly began circulating online and raising eyebrows, including Rep. Slaton’s. 

In Slaton’s video, Slaton dissects Landgraf’s post line by line, pointing out that he isn’t a “Dallas-area” politician as Landgraf claimed, but rather is a rural East Texas lawmaker, just as Landgraf is a rural West Texas lawmaker. 

He then takes issue with Landgraf’s claim that the amendment was filed last minute, showing an email where Slaton sent the amendment to Landgraf via the House Parliamentarian for review roughly one month ago, and showing where he received confirmation that Landgraf had received the amendment. 

Slaton also went on to detail Landgraf’s notable actions on two other amendments, including one to prioritize pro-life legislation and the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) legislative priorities. 

The pro-life amendment sought to ensure that the House would take up and vote on pro-life legislation before dealing with minor issues such as naming roads and bridges. 

Before the pro-life amendment Slaton authored could be considered, another lawmaker, Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) proposed to amendment Slaton’s pro-life amendment to say that the RPT priorities would be taken up first.  

However, Tinderholt’s amendment was killed by a point of order cast by none other than Rep. Landgraf, causing the issue to fall back to Slaton’s original pro-life amendment where at first, he voted for the pro-life amendment and then changed his vote to being against the pro-life amendment in the House journal. 

The ten legislative priorities that Landgraf killed with his point of order include election integrity, protecting religious freedom, children and gender modification, the abolition of abortion, constitutional carry, monument protection, school choice, and banning taxpayer-funded lobbying. 

“That’s something he has to explain for himself” Slaton stated “But what he is not going to do is he is not going to lie about me. He is not going to tell people I have Nancy Pelosi strategy – call me a Dallas area politician and claim I gave him a last-minute amendment.” 

Slaton ended demanding Landgraf apologize, saying “I personally think he needs to apologize to the people he has lied to and I think he needs to apologize to me.”

As of publication, Landgraf hasn’t responded to the accusations. 

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