With tomorrow’s special session of the Texas Legislature about to take place, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan has created a newly-formed House Select Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies.
State Rep. Brooks Landgraf has been appointed by the speaker to serve on the new committee ahead of the special session.
The House Select Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies will study issues submitted by Gov. Greg Abbott for the special session.
The committee was announced on Tuesday.
“First of all, I’m very grateful to have the speaker of the house’s confidence in me but the most important aspect of this is that it’s going to give West Texas a strong voice in the committee as we address some of the big issues that are going to come up when this special session begins on Thursday,” Landgraf said in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon.
The House Select Committee on Constitutional Rights and Remedies is being chaired by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) and the vice chair is Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston).
“They went to great lengths to make sure that the state is reflected,” Landgraf said. “That can be a challenge sometimes. … But because we have a lot of issues to address and we only have 30 days to get everything done, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and I’m eager to get started on it.”
The committee will consist of 15-members and will have jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to rights guaranteed under the United States and Texas constitutions and remedies for a violation of those rights.
In a press release provided by Landgraf’s office, the committee will also have jurisdiction over all matters pertaining to several state agencies including the Office of the Governor, the Office of the Secretary of State and multiple divisions within the Office of the Attorney General.
The purpose of the select committee is to ensure thoughtful consideration of legislation related to constitutional issues that are expected to be addressed during the session.
“Just a few hours ago, the governor listed a couple of items that the legislature will be taking on. Some of the big ticket ones have to do with election integrity,” Landgraf said. “That’s one that’s gotten the most attention. … The election integrity failed to pass at the last session. That’s one where there’s a lot of attention being paid. I’m very honored to be put on the committee. The committee is going to be taking a look at a lot of the issues.”
Because the session hasn’t started yet, bills haven’t been filed in yet or referred to committees, it’s a little premature to say what more the committee will be doing but Landgraf said things will be clearer once the session gets underway.
“We will have a better idea in the coming days,” Landgraf said. “I don’t want to speculate too much but I think that picture will become clearer in the next few days.”
The Texas Constitution gives the governor authority to call the legislature into a special session that can last no more than 30 days. During these special sessions, the legislature can only consider legislation related to subjects designated by the governor.