Tom Washington and Jean McIver from SD12 traveled together to the Second Quarterly Meeting of 2013. We attended all of the meetings to which we were assigned, including the Officials Committee, Rules Committee, Policies & Procedures Ad Hoc Committee (for Tom) and the General Session.
The principal issues that the members of the Republican Party of Texas State Republican Executive Committee worked on dealt with:
- Proposed RPT Rules changes and SREC Bylaws changes permitted by Texas Election Law changes promulgated by the Texas Legislature in multiple passed bills but primarily HB 3102 and HB 630
- Discussion of pending changes in 2016 RNC National Convention dates and the effect on the Republican Party of Texas
- Discussion of RNC offers to fund portions of the 2014 RPT Texas Victory campaign and community inclusion programs
- Approval of the 2014 RPT State Convention budget and approval to sign vendor contracts
- Approval of the 2012 RPT Audit Report
- Debate of a proposed SREC Standing Rule from the SREC Rules Committee
As usual for the 2012-2013 SREC Term, this was a full menu of items to discuss, debate and decide.
We will go through and describe how the SREC worked on each of the six issues, in order, although realize that there may be a mixture of committee meetings and general session in these accounts.
Proposed RPT Rules Changes and SREC Bylaws Changes Due to
Changes in Election Law
None of the promulgated bills sent to the Governor for signature were signed before the date of the SREC meeting, and our Parliamentarian Butch Davis ruled that these rules changes could not be considered at this meeting. The proposed rules changes will be part of our September meetings, if these bills are signed by the Governor.
In the Rules Committee, SD21 Eric Opiela reviewed some proposals that he has drawn up to match the Election Law changes from the 83rd Legislative Session. Eric worked closely with legislators in the passage of these bills. The bills were designed to return to both the Republican Party of Texas and the Texas Democrat Party decisions that had formerly been decided by the Texas Legislature in Election Law.
Should these bills pass, there will be a new category of rules within the RPT Rules called Permanent State Executive Committee Rules, which can only be decided by vote in favor by two-thirds of the State Executive Committee members present and voting and are not available for change or revision by the delegates of a State Convention. These rules will supersede any rule passed by the State Convention on the subjects covered by these rules, similar to the way that the Texas Election Code is superior.
Other proposed changes in response to these bills include the ability by the State Executive Committee to: establish the date, time and place for State Conventions: establish a quorum for County Executive Committees when they appoint precinct chairs; establish the date, time and place of precinct conventions and county and district conventions; establish permanent chairs for precinct conventions, county conventions and district conventions; allow electronic records for convention reporting; establish delegate rules and delegate allocation rules for conventions; and to establish delegate seating and voting rules at conventions. The SREC may decide to delegate some of these decisions to action of the County Executive Committees where it is felt appropriate to have differences in rules among the counties.
This is a significant change in the power of the Republican Party of Texas to control its own conventions.
Pending Changes in 2016 RNC National Convention Dates & National Primary Dates
RNC Chair Reince Priebus has notified the RPT that there is a 75% chance that the RNC will move up the date of the 2016 RNC National Convention to as early as the third week of June 2016. The RNC is interested in shortening the long primary process for its Presidential nominees. Existing Texas Election Law fixes the dates of the RPT State Convention to a date occurring in either June or July in even-numbered years. Since the deadline for submitting National Delegates to the RNC is typically 45 days, this sets up an impossible situation for the Republican Party of Texas.
Should redistricting still be an issue in 2016, this could also affect this process, but let’s assume that the Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, in accordance with current Texas law. Our county and district conventions would occur Saturday, March 19, 2016, under current Texas law. This leaves only two months in which to hold a State Convention to elect our Texas National Delegation.
In the previous section, note that the Texas Legislature passed a bill, HB 3102, which would allow the Republican Party of Texas to set a date, time and place for the 2016 RPT State Convention free of the current confines of Texas Election Law. Should Governor Perry veto and not sign that bill, the RPT would be in a big quandary. If the bill is signed, it is likely that the date of the 2016 State Convention would be moved up to early May by the State Republican Executive Committee.
We do not know if the RNC is considering changes in the order or dates that states would be permitted to hold their Primary elections. One concept under discussion would be a regional Primary Election approach, which could group states into required primary election dates. This approach would require state law changes in Texas and in other states. Stay tuned.
RNC offers to Fund Portions of the 2014 RPT Texas Victory Campaign
and RPT Community Inclusion Programs
With the recently announced Democrat plan called Battleground Texas to try to be competitive in Texas for the 2014 election cycle, the RNC realized that Texas could require RNC funding to ramp up to meet this challenge. Texas with 38 electoral votes, soon to be 40 electoral votes, is the linchpin and cornerstone to the Republican Party’s hopes of returning to the Presidency. If these electoral votes switched to the Democrat column, it is a loss that cannot be made up easily with other states.
The Republican Party of Texas has continued to increase its fundraising under State Chair Steve Munisteri. The RPT raised over 6 million dollars in the 2012 election cycle. The RPT plans to greatly increase its field operations for the 2014 election cycle, and the RNC will fund portions of this plan. Current RPT staff members will soon be named as RNC State Director of Victory and of Outreach or Community Immersion. Five to six RPT field offices will be opened permanently in the major population centers of the state. These offices will be staffed with permanent field staff and will contain resources for our Republican volunteers.
The Republican National Committee has pledged to deliver a comprehensive digital platform equal or better to the platform used successfully by the Democrat Party in the past election cycle. This digital platform will be delivered fully functional to the states in six months, according to RNC promises. RNC Chair Reince Priebus recently met with members of the Republican Party of Texas in Houston to make this promise personally and to discuss the details of the RNC commitment to Texas.
2014 RPT State Convention and Presidential Straw Poll in Fort Worth
Planning continues for the 2014 RPT State Convention opening at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Thursday, June 5, 2014. As previously reported, the RPT is holding a three-day convention in 2014. Normally in an off-year, non-Presidential cycle, we would meet for two days. However, the SREC decided to increase the convention by one day to allow more time for debate. Make your plans to attend and save your pennies and nickels!
We have another exciting announcement for the 2014 convention! The RPT will hold a non-binding Presidential Straw Poll at the 2014 State Convention. The details are being worked out, but suffice to say that all of the delegates will have a vote, and guests will be able to vote as well. We expect some early non-declared Presidential candidates to attend our 2014 RPT State Convention.
The budget for the 2014 State Convention was approved by the Officials Committee and recommended to the SREC. The SREC then approved that the Officials Committee shall execute the budget and approve vendor contracts and authorized the non-binding Presidential Straw Poll.
2012 Republican Party of Texas Audit Report
The CPA firm of Atchley and Associates conducted an audit of the 2012 books and records of the Republican Party of Texas. Financial statements for 2012 and accompanying footnotes were presented in the audit report, along with an unqualified opinion that the financial statements fairly presented the financial condition of the Republican Party of Texas in all material respects. The audit report was presented to the SREC, and the SREC approved the audit report unanimously.
Your party is in sound financial condition. An SREC Bylaw Change was proposed and passed which will allow the SREC to post all or a portion of this Audit Report on the website for viewing if they so choose.
Standing Rule Proposal by the SREC Rules Committee
SREC Rules Committee member Bill Eastland SD9 proposed a standing rule to the Rules Committee that would allow visitors to record all SREC meetings by audio or video with no restrictions. There was virtually no support for this proposal among the members of the Rules Committee. Ben Zeller SD18 proposed a standing rule that would prohibit any and all recording by visitors attending the SREC meetings. This proposal also had virtually no support on the Rules Committee.
Tom Washington SD12 proposed a compromise standing rule, as follows with amendments, which passed the SREC Rules Committee unanimously.
“Staff shall record all SREC meetings, except Executive Session, by audio and video and shall live stream such video recordings and archive them on the RPT website for viewing. Guests attending meetings of the SREC or its committees shall not be permitted to record or live stream audio or video of any proceedings.”
This is the proposal laid before the SREC by the Rules Committee for consideration and debate.
The lively debate included numerous amendments and consumed almost two hours of the meeting. It is fair to say that the proposal was amended almost every possible way, but the Rules Committee compromise was holding until the following amendment by Johnny Lovejoy SD26.
Striking the phrase, “and shall live stream such video recordings and archive them on the RPT website for viewing”. This amendment passed on a standing vote by the vote of 29 to 28. Both of your SD12 representatives voted against the amendment.
The remaining standing rule passed overwhelmingly by standing vote with only a few votes in opposition. The new standing rule is as follows.
“Staff shall record all SREC meetings, except Executive Session, by audio and video. Guests attending meetings of the SREC or its committees shall not be permitted to record or live stream audio or video of any proceedings.”
By applying the Lovejoy Amendment, audio and video recordings of the SREC meetings are available from the RPT staff by request.
Texas Asian Republican Assembly
The Texas Asian Republican Assembly is the newest official RPT auxiliary and was approved by the SREC this past Saturday. This is the first-ever Asian auxiliary of RPT and an exciting addition.
Appointing County Chairs
The State Executive Committee reviewed the qualifications of the candidates and appointed four new GOP County Chairs for Hall, Irion, Reeves and Zavala counties. There are GOP County Chairs serving in 253 of Texas’s 254 counties. (Zapata is the one remaining county needing a GOP County Chair.)
A Presentation to State Chair Steve Munisteri
We also had an opportunity for a little fun with State Chair Steve Munisteri, who is a “double Longhorn” graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Law School. Steve is a huge fan of the Texas Longhorns.There are also a few Texas Aggies serving the Republican Party of Texas and Steve, being a good sport, made a bet at a Harris County Republican Party fundraiser on an autographed picture of Texas Aggie football Coach Kevin Sumlin. Steve accepted a bet that the picture would not raise a certain very large sum of money, with Steve agreeing to hang the picture in his office for one year.The good Texas Aggies in attendance at the fundraiser made sure that the bet was won and Steve accepted his autographed picture of Texas Aggie football Coach Kevin Sumlin at this meeting of the SREC. With the Aggie War Hymn blaring in the room, Steve was presented with his prize. A few Aggies also “sawed off the Horns” in the meeting room. A good time was had by all (and we hope Steve as well).
RPT Hosts RNC Grass Roots Town Hall
Chairman Priebus met with over 250 grassroots leaders in Houston for a grass roots town hall recently. The RNC has pledged funds to hire 12 Hispanic Outreach Field Staff and 6 Victory Field Staff in Texas over the next year. That allows RPT to hire a full-time Asian American Outreach Director and a full-time African American Outreach Director. Click RPT Hosts Grass Roots Town Hall
We value the great honor of serving on the State Republican Executive Committee representing Senate District 12.
Tom Washington and Jean McIver