The subject of school choice exploded last week in Austin when Texas House Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood) declared it “dead” in the current legislative session.
In response, the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC), the governing body over the Republican Party of Texas (RPT), adopted a “Resolution to Urge Votes on RPT Legislative Priorities” Saturday. It reminds lawmakers to support eight key conservative priorities: constitutional carry, border security, banning sanctuary cities and campuses, limited Article V convention of states, right to life, property tax overhaul, First Amendment right protections, and school choice.
The school choice line item “advocates for comprehensive school choice in a manner consistent with the RPT Platform.” The 2016 platform champions school choice and the rights of families to choose public, open-enrollment public charters, private, or home education and “the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public, private, charter, or home school through means of tax exemptions and/or credits.”
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick called school choice one of his top legislative priorities and Governor Greg Abbott said he will sign a school choice bill should one make its way to his desk. Eighty-seven percent of Harris County Republicans supported a 2012 school choice measure, Kingwood Tea Party President Robin Lennon told Breitbart Texas. Nestled in the county is Huberty’s House District 127.
SREC member Mike Goldman sponsored the resolution, prompted by Lennon and the Kingwood Tea Party’s request to censure Huberty after he vowed to single-handedly block school choice bills from getting heard in his committee, Breitbart Texas reported. Lennon voiced, although the grassroots worked with Huberty previously and hopes to again in the future, she felt he threw down the gauntlet against “hope and opportunity for our most vulnerable students in failing schools” when he rejected the platform’s school choice plank.
While the resolution does not state anyone by name, Goldman told Breitbart Texas the resolution’s message “reads loud and crystal clear that this is in direct response to Chairman Huberty’s comments last Tuesday.”
The resolution acknowledges “committee chairmen in either chamber of the Texas Legislature have the power to deny Republican Party legislative priorities a timely hearing in their committees and thereby to deny the legislation from ever being voted on by the full body of the Texas House of Representatives or Senate, which in turn prevents the Governor from giving his final assent to turn priorities into law…”
Goldman said they crafted a “broad and clear resolution that urged a timely committee hearing and a vote on each of the GOP priorities” in both chambers of the Texas Legislature.
Resolution recipients include Abbott, Patrick, House Speaker Joe Straus, all Republican members of the Texas Senate and House and Republican county chairs “in order that the county parties forward to all endorsing groups and organizations within their respective counties.”
Even though the resolution’s original intent changed, Lennon told Breitbart Texas, “I am pleased with the SREC’s support, and the Kingwood TEA Party joins them in urging Texas Republican Committee chairmen to ensure hearings and votes on any bills supporting all eight of the Republican Party of Texas’ legislative priorities, including school choice.”
Goldman added he undertook the effort because “the Party’s got to stand for something.”
SREC member Vergel Cruz also worked on the resolution.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.