Governor Abbott makes small gesture towards Texas Constitution, announces legally-required opening of Texas Capitol

The Texas State Capitol must legally remain open. Yesterday, Governor Greg Abbott tried to claim credit for reopening what legally must be open.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Austin, December 22 – Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and outgoing House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced yesterday that the Texas Capitol will re-open on January 4, 2021. Their announcement was little more than shameful pandering for attention.

Article III, § 16 of the Texas Constitution states that “the sessions of each House shall be open, except the Senate when in Executive session.” As State Representative Briscoe Cain, Republican of Deer Park, recently noted, the House and Senate may adopt rules of governance under Chapter 301 of the Government Code.

Currently, the 86th Legislature, which met in 2019, imposes rules that require the House and Senate chambers and committee hearings to be open to the public. The 87th Texas Legislature will open on January 12, 2021.

In their attention-seeking announcement, Abbott and his friends announced, “At a time when many state capitols, including the U.S. Capitol, are closed, Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced today that the Texas Capitol will re-open on January 4th.” Abbott, Patrick, and Bonnen further proclaimed, “In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety protocols have been put in place to allow for the Capitol’s reopening while maintaining a safe environment for all visitors, lawmakers, and staff. Preparations to safely conduct business in the Texas House and Senate are ongoing, and each chamber will vote upon their respective rules and protocols at the start of the legislative session.”

Their announcement is the moral equivalent of a press release proudly stating, “Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that he stopped at a red light at an intersection in Austin yesterday.”

Many Texas legislators, Governor Greg Abbott, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick have grabbed the pretext of fear of the Chinese Coronavirus to attempt to close the Texas State Capitol to the public during the upcoming 87th Texas Legislature. Citizen participation and vigilance in the legislative process, however, is essential to proper representation by state legislators, especially during the Texas Legislature’s session, the most dangerous period of time for all Texas citizens, particularly those who pay taxes.

The law got in the way of Abbott’s and the legislators’ plans.



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