Texas 'Freedom Caucus' kills more than 100 House Bills

The Texas Freedom Caucus, made up of conservative State Rep's like Matt Schaefer from Tyler, Jonathan Stickland from Bedford and others. According to their website, they aim to “amplify the voice of liberty-minded Texans.”
               
Thursday, as a midnight deadline loomed to get bills passed, the group of far right-wing lawmakers started wreaking havoc.  Payback for what they call "petty personal politics."

"Basically took over the House floor and there was a big fight between mainstream Republicans and the Freedom Caucus and it kind of broke things down.  It's a shame because there were a lot of good bills on the calendar that needed to pass," said Representative Rafael Anchia, a Democrat from Dallas.

Anchia says the caucus members used a tactic called "chub," sort of like a filibuster, to slow the calendar down.

"They popped a lot of bills on the calendar last night and killed a lot of bills today.  Some people are calling it the 'Mother's Day Massacre,'" Anchia said.

On Friday morning, the caucus saw to it that the entire local, consent and resolutions calendar was killed.

"There was the group of the Freedom Caucus that put together 15 signatures which is a procedural move to kill the entire local and consent calendar and these are bills with no opposition or purely local in nature.  Those are all dead," Anchia said.

Friday's consent calendar was made up of more than 100 bills

One of the pieces of legislation that did pass Friday morning -- Senate Bill 179 criminalizing cyberbullying.  Representative Tony Dale from Cedar Park supported that.

"You know sometimes our laws just aren't up to speed, they're not modern laws so this takes into account things like social media and cell phones and some of the apps that are out there," Dale said.

Dale says what happened Thursday night with the chaos and the Freedom Caucus doesn't surprise him.

"You've got to work well with people and people need to feel that they're a part of the process.  And if you isolate people there's going to be a reaction and I think that's part of what we saw," Dale said.

"I think the rest of the session is going to be painful.  Things have really broken down.  GOP infighting not only within the House but between the House and the Senate are causing stalls on a lot of important pieces of legislation and I fear that the last few weeks are going to be about politics and ideology and not about the work of the people," Anchia said.

The House is adjourned until Monday at 2.

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