You may recall that on the morning of March 29, TFVC released this Action Alert on HR 835, a “simple resolution” filed by Rep. Ann Johnson recognizing Vaccine Awareness and Advocacy Day in the Texas House.
We wanted to circle back and give you the results of that Action Alert.
Let’s start with some context:
First, what is a “simple resolution”? A simple resolution, like the one Rep. Ann Johnson filed, is a legislative measure that is considered only within the chamber in which it is filed. It can offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or another statement of legislative sentiment. They are not submitted to the governor for signing or filed with the secretary of state. In other words, they are symbolic and hold zero weight of law.
Next, the rules for filing resolutions are different from filing bills. All bills must be filed before the bill filing deadline, which for this Session was March 10. In contrast, resolutions can be filed at any time, often the day before the State Representative who is filing it wants to present their resolution on the House Floor. In this case, Rep. Johnson filed her resolution the afternoon of March 28 to designate the next day Vaccine Awareness and Advocacy Day.
It’s also important to keep in mind that while State Reps are laying out their resolutions, it’s often quite chaotic on the House Floor. No one really listens during the resolutions since the layouts serve one purpose only: to get video footage for the person, place or thing being commemorated. So it’s common practice for the State Reps to use this resolution time to prepare for the day, visit amongst themselves and other sometimes noisy activities. Additionally, nearly all resolutions get passed with unanimous approval using standing or voice votes, with many not even participating in those casual votes since, again, they know they are symbolic and unanimous votes.
With that context in mind, let’s dive into what happened during the March 29 vote on Rep. Johnson’s resolution:
Team TFVC released our Action Alert on this resolution EARLY on the morning of March 29, sending a list-wide email and posting across all social media channels. Immediately, both Michelle and I started getting texts from State Reps: Is TFVC behind all these calls and emails? Our response: PROUDLY YES!
When Michelle arrived at the Capitol that morning, she camped in the House Gallery waiting for HR 835 to be laid out. I was getting live updates from her. There were numerous resolutions before HR 835, and Michelle confirmed that the House Floor was quite chaotic during all of them. In fact, I think the words she used were “circus” and “jungle.” Literally, no one was listening during these few hours of resolutions.
Then it was time for HR 835. After rolling our eyes listening to Rep. Johnson’s vaccine pep rally speech, it was time to vote.
We had asked three State Reps to call for a Record Vote. (We’ve learned to have back ups to our back ups due to the unpredictable nature of Session.) Remember that Record Votes on Resolutions are rare. Rep. Tony Tinderholt was the one who officially asked for and was granted a Record Vote.
We held our breath and watched as the votes rolled in.
At the time of the Record Vote, the following voted NAY to the resolution: Reps. Bumgarner, Cain, Gates, Gerdes, Harris, C.J., Hayes, Schatzline, Slaton, Stucky, Tinderholt, Toth, Vasut, and Wilson.
This is where it got interesting. Once other Reps realized that other Reps voted no, there was a mad dash to the House clerk. There is a maneuver that allows State Reps to symbolically change their votes in the Journal. According to the House Journal, the following changed their votes to NAY: Reps. Allison, Anderson, Cook, Frazier, Hefner, Holland, Hull, Isaac, Kitzman, Lambert, Leach, Leo-Wilson, Metcalf, Noble, Orr, Patterson, Paul, Slawson, Smith, Smithee, E. Thompson.
So on a resolution that should have quietly and unanimously passed, 33 brave State Reps said, “No, we do not need to expend legislative energy on a resolution to make Texans aware of products that they are all very much so aware of.”
To those 33 State Reps, we extend our deepest gratitude and applaud your courage to say NO to the lies of the vaccine propaganda and the Dr. Fauci apologists! Thank you for standing with us on the first Record Vote of the 88th Legislative Session!