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Staples And Patrick Voice Support For More Majority Control In Senate

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

Republican lieutenant governor hopefuls are promising to boost the party’s presence in the Texas Senate and all four candidates say they will get rid of the two-thirds majority rule.

This would scale back traditions that allow Senate Democrats to have a say and keep Republicans from going to the far-right on issues like immigration, guns and education.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said he will not allow a minority to control the Senate’s agenda:

"I think we should lower or eliminate that threshold and I want to be a no excuses lieutenant governor that doesn’t come out and say, 'Well, we didn’t get it done because of process,'" Staples said.

Staples, along with state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who is also running for lieutenant governor, want to also decrease the number Democrats that chair Senate committees.

"As I’ve talked about, I’m not going to appoint half the democrats to run the Senate," Patrick said.

Patrick said he would also lower the threshold from the current 31 votes needed to bring a piece of legislation up for debate.

"And I will encourage the new Republicans coming in to change it to 19," Patrick said. "It’s a Senate decision but I will encourage the Republican Caucus to make that change."

Critics that include some Republicans argue it would be a horrible mistake to do away with the traditions that encourage compromise and cooperation in the Texas Senate. 

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.