The Texas House of Representatives will convene the 2013 legislative session on Tuesday, January 8. One if the first items of business will be electing a speaker of the house. Representative Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who was the speaker in the previous legislature, still appears to be the favorite, but the recent challenge by Representative David Simpson (R-Longview) has been gaining momentum.
Simpson made national news two years ago when constitutionalists in Texas and other states rallied in support of Simpson’s anti-groping bill. It would have outlawed touching of people’s private parts in the name of security unless the law-enforcement person had probable cause that the person being searched had committed an offense. Support for this bill led to similar bills being submitted in other state legislatures.
The anti-groping bill failed to pass in the Texas Legislature but not because it was ever defeated in a floor vote. The bill was originally bottled up in committee and was brought to the floor only after committee members were flooded with letters and phone calls from citizens. The bill failed to pass largely because it emerged from the committee too late in the session and encountered bureaucratic obstacles.