Minor Advances by Democrats in the Lege; How Will That Affect 2019 Session?

Democrats flipped a handful of seats in the Texas Legislature on Tuesday, but it may end up making a huge difference when the session begins in January, News radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Analysts call it a 'blue ripple' instead of a 'blue wave' that will hit the Capitol, with 12 new Democrats in the House and two new Republicans in the Senate.

The Texas Senate under Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has become a conservative's dream, with a conservative super-majority which enabled it to rewrite the laws ranging from immigration to the use of public restrooms.   Although many of its initiatives were thrown out by the courts or thwarted by the more liberal Texas House, the Senate became a conservative's fantasy, cracking down on big cities and their 'liberal' leadership, approving numerous laws to restrict abortion, outlawing 'sanctuary cities,' and, famously, twice approving a bill that dictates which public restrooms people can use.

Although conservative Republicans will keep a lock on the Senate, but Republicans will need to be more open to dealing with Democrats, especially with only 31 members of the Senate.

"Especially because the margin of victory for the Republicans is going to be pretty small," University of Houston political analyst Brandon Rottinghaus said.  "Any defection could mean that Dan Patrick loses that super majority."

Even though there are 150 members of the House, Rice University political analyst Mark Jones tells News Radio 1200 WOAI 12 Democrat pickups will loom large, and he says we will start to see their impact on Day One, when the House meets to select a Speaker to succeed the retiring Joe Straus.

"Given the much more narrow majority, Democrats will have greater influence," he said.

House Republicans were angry throughout the last session that Straus killed several conservative initiatives, from the 'bathroom bill' to a measure that would have limited the ability of local governments to approve property tax increases.

While the new Democrat members could mean Straus' successor, while certain to be a Republican, will be a moderate like Straus, it could splash back on the Democrats. 

 In the wake of Straus' election, many conservatives have called for a change in House rules, to allow only the majority party, in this case the Republicans, to vote for a Speaker, which is the way its done in the U.S. House.  That could result, ironically, in an even more conservative House Speaker in 2019.



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