March 16, 2017 by Cary Cheshire
In a stunning move, the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to support Democrat efforts to hamstring the state’s economy by raising the minimum wage.
Earlier today, State Rep. Hugh Shine (R–Belton) moved to suspend the rules and fast track a proposed constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage by almost 50 percent.
Authored by the chairman of the House Democrat caucus, State Rep. Chris Turner of Arlington’s HJR 56 would amend the Texas Constitution to raise the minimum wage in the State of Texas from the federally required $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
Loyal to the Democrat-coalition that governs the Texas House, Shine serves as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Business & Industry and likely made the motion at the behest of his committee chairman State Rep. René Oliveira (D–Brownsville).
And he succeeded.
Despite the Texas Republican Party Platform’s call for a complete abolition of the minimum wage and a long history of free market rhetoric, Republican members voted overwhelmingly in favor of Shine’s motion, with only 21 members voting against the motion to suspend the rules.
That vote was sharply condemned by conservative State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park) who is serving his first term in the Legislature after dispatching a liberal Republican.
“It is incredibly shocking to see Democrat platform priorities be fast-tracked through the Texas House while Gov. Abbott’s priorities and those of the Republican Party of Texas are languishing without even a hearing,” said Cain. “Voters elected us to enact limited government reforms that expand Texans’ opportunities, not to support a liberal and crippling economic agenda.”
Texas Scorecard made inquiries to several lawmakers including House Republican Caucus Chairman Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound) asking them to explain their vote against the RPT platform. As of publication, there has been no response.
Members voting “Yea” are voting to advance the legislation.
UPDATE: After this article was published, several House lawmakers made journal statement said changing their vote or noting how they would have voted. These statements do not impact the result. Those changes are reflected in the House Journal and may be viewed here.