FEATURED: Rep. Mary E. González, D-El Paso, on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, participates in a meeting of the Legislative Budget Board in Austin. She is the primary author of House Resolution 155.
PHOTOGRAPH BY SENATE MEDIA
House Resolution 155 honoring Texas LGBTQ+ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day opposed by 54 Republicans, including Rep. Ryan Guillén, R-Rio Grande City, and Rep. Janie López, R-San Benito
A congratulatory resolution by Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, which commended the LGBTQ+ Chambers of Commerce from across Texas for their first advocacy day at the Texas Capitol on Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2023), was recently approved in the 150-member Texas House of Representatives, but with 54 Republicans voting against the measure.
LGBTQ+ is an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning) for people who are not heterosexual.
LGBTQ+ is also for people who don’t identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Rep. Ryan Guillén, R-Rio Grande City, and Rep. Janie López, R-San Benito, were the only two of the eight Rio Grande Valley state representatives to go on the public record in opposition to House Resolution 155, whose primary author is González.
As the primary author, González is legislator who filed House Resolution 155 and guided it through the legislative process.
The Senate allows multiple primary authors for each bill or resolution. The House of Representatives allows only one primary author, the House member whose signature appears on the original measure and on the copies filed with the chief clerk. Both chambers (House of Representatives and Senate) also have coauthors, and the House of Representatives has joint authors.
The vote with the 54 Republicans in opposition took place on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
However, not all House Republicans went on the public record against House Resolution 155; there are 86 Republican state representatives in the 150-member Texas House of Representatives.
According to the House Journal, which is the official publication that records the legislative proceedings of each chamber, including record vote information, identified the Republican “No” votes by last name and in alphabetical order.
“Anderson, Ashby, C. Bell, K. Bell, Bumgarner, Burns, Cain, Cook, Craddick, Cunningham, Dean, DeAyala, Dorazio, Frazier, Gates, Gerdes, Guillen, Harless, C.E. Harris, C.J. Harris, Harrison, Hayes, Hefner, Hull, Isaac, Kitzman, Klick, Lambert, Landgraf, Leo-Wilson, J. Lopez, Metcalf, Noble, Orr, Patterson, Paul, Price, Raney, Rogers, Schaefer, Schatzline, Shaheen, Shine, Slaton, Slawson, Smith, Smithee, Spiller, Stucky, Swanson, Tepper, Thimesch, E. Thompson, Tinderholt, Toth, Troxclair, and Vasut recorded voting no.”
Congratulatory and memorial resolutions are formal expressions of opinion or decision, other than a proposed law, that may be offered for approval to one or both the Texas House of Representatives or the Texas Senate by a member of the House or Senate.
Include in its language, House Resolution 155 stated this about the LGBTQ+ Chambers of Commerce:
“Having originally joined forces to combat discrimination and promote equality, inclusion, and economic vitality across Texas, the chambers are also pursuing a legislative agenda that includes support for economic development and the promotion of tourism, for comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation that makes Texas a competitive, business-friendly state, for increased funding for public schools, and for improvements to the state’s health care system and its public safety and transportation policies; in addition, the group advocates for racial equity in all sectors of the state, including education, employment, health care, and criminal justice.”
Republicans: Resolution “violates our core principles”
That measure drew strong resistance from top Texas GOP officials, according the Ali Linan. Texas statehouse reporter for CNHI, LLC.
CNHI, LLC (formerly Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc) is an American publisher of newspapers and advertising-related publications throughout the United States.
“Republican (GOP) state party leaders are calling on conservative lawmakers to push back against any LGBTQ resolutions after House Resolution 155 from El Paso Democratic state Rep. Mary González made it through the chamber last week (Wednesday, March 8, 2023) when combined with nearly 200 other resolutions,” Linan wrote in her story, dated Wednesday, March 16, 2023.
She further reported that a letter published on Wednesday, March 16, 2023 by the Republican Party of Texas stated: “The House adoption of this resolution is extremely disheartening for the conservatives that continue to deliver a majority for Republicans in the House, only to see the left celebrated in your chamber.”
According to official Twitter Account for the Republican Party of Texas, that organization “is opposed to this bill as it violates our core principles.
“Not only does this resolution celebrate the LGBTQ lifestyle in violation of our beliefs on traditional marriage between a man and a woman, it also includes language that tramples on religious freedom, privacy, and promotes CRT/DEI policies.”
Culturally responsive teaching, also called CRT, is a teaching method that involves understanding and focusing on a student’s cultural background.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion, also called DEI, are three closely linked values held by certain organizations that are working to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations.
What House Resolution 155 says
The full language of House Resolution 155 follows:
WHEREAS, Proud representatives of four major metropolitan LGBTQ chambers of commerce from across the state are gathering in Austin for the first Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day at the State Capitol on February 14, 2023; and
WHEREAS, These organizations include the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and they have joined together to form a statewide coalition of more than 1,000 LGBT-owned and allied businesses; the cities the chambers represent account for nearly half of the state’s population; and
WHEREAS, Having originally joined forces to combat discrimination and promote equality, inclusion, and economic vitality across Texas, the chambers are also pursuing a legislative agenda that includes support for economic development and the promotion of tourism, for comprehensive nondiscrimination legislation that makes Texas a competitive, business-friendly state, for increased funding for public schools, and for improvements to the state’s health care system and its public safety and transportation policies; in addition, the group advocates for racial equity in all sectors of the state, including education, employment, health care, and criminal justice; and
WHEREAS, By bringing their collective voices together in behalf of the LGBTQIA+ business community in the Lone Star State, these chambers of commerce have jointly become a powerful advocate for the dignity and prosperity of all Texans; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 88th Texas Legislature hereby recognize February 14, 2023, as Texas LGBTQ Chambers of Commerce Advocacy Day at the State Capitol and extend a warm welcome to the visiting delegation.
(LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviationused to signify Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual people collectively.
What are legislative resolutions?
In the Texas legislative process, there are three types of measures that are known as resolutions, according to the Texas Legislative Council, which is a nonpartisan legislative agency that serves as source of impartial research and information for state lawmakers and the public.
“While the bill is the most common type of legislation, the legislature also uses three types of resolutions, which follow somewhat different processes. Resolutions are used to handle specific activities of the legislature and must be introduced, assigned numbers, and acted on by the legislature,” the Texas Legislative Council explains. “The three types of legislative resolutions are joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions, and simple resolutions. Of these, only concurrent resolutions are subject to veto by the governor.”
A bill is type of legislative measure that requires passage by the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate and action by the governor in order to become effective. A bill is the primary means used to create and change the laws of the state. “Bill” types include Senate and House bills, Senate and House joint resolutions, Senate and House concurrent resolutions, and Senate and House resolutions.
• Simple resolutions pertain to matters considered by the originating chamber only. They are used to adopt or change rules of procedure, name a mascot, express congratulations or condolences, or petition the U.S. Congress. Simple resolutions may also express the views of a single chamber, initiate a study by that chamber, or urge a state agency, board, or commission to take action. They are not submitted to the governor for signing or filed with the secretary of state.
• Concurrent resolutions are used when both the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate have an interest in a particular matter. Such resolutions may originate in either chamber but must be adopted by both. Concurrent resolutions may be used for matters affecting operations and procedures of the legislature, such as joint sessions or adjournment sine die.
They are also used to petition the U.S. Congress, give directions to a state agency, board, or commission, express the views of the legislature, designate an official state symbol, adopt an official place or date designation, or express congratulations or condolences. Concurrent resolutions must be submitted to the governor for approval, except for those that pertain solely to procedural matters between the two chambers, and they are filed with the secretary of state.
• Joint resolutions are used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution require a vote of two-thirds of the total membership of each chamber for adoption.
Other joint resolutions require a simple majority vote in each chamber for adoption. A joint resolution follows the same course that a bill follows through both chambers and is like a bill in most respects, except that in the House, the resolution may be adopted on second reading if it receives the required number of votes. Three readings are required to adopt a joint resolution in the Senate.
Joint resolutions adopted by the legislature are not submitted to the governor for signing but are filed directly with the secretary of state. An amendment to the Texas Constitution proposed by an adopted joint resolution requires approval by Texas voters at a general election. The secretary of state conducts a drawing to determine the order in which the proposed constitutional amendments will appear on the ballot.
Official biography of Rep. Mary E. González
Rep. Mary E. González was raised in Clint, Texas and graduated from Clint High School.
Currently serving her sixth term in the Texas House of Representatives, she was elected in November 2012, to represent House District 75 — an area that encompasses much of eastern El Paso County.
During her time as a state representative, González has authored numerous bills to improve public schools, increase economic development, and support agriculture in District 75 and throughout Texas.
She is Vice Chair of the House Appropriations Committee and serves on the House Higher Education Committee.
González is a member of the Legislative Budget Board (LBB).
The LBB is a permanent joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations, completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation, and conducts evaluations and reviews to improve the efficiency and performance of state and local operations.
González chairs the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus and is Treasurer of the Information Technology Caucus.
She is also Chair of the Board of Latino Legislative Leaders, a national bi-partisan organization comprised of Latino state legislative leaders.
González received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, her master’s from St. Edward’s University, and her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction- Cultural Studies in Education from UT-Austin.
Previously, she worked at the National Hispanic Institute, the University of Texas at Austin, and as the Assistant Dean for Student Multicultural Affairs at Southwestern University.
She presently works as Executive Director for the Mexican American School Boards Association, as an independent consultant, and as an adjunct professor at St. Edwards University in Austin.
As a result of her accomplishments, González was named a “Champion of Equality” and “Advocate of the Year” by Equality Texas.
In 2015, she was the youngest inductee into the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame.
González received the Progressive Movement Leadership Award from the Young Elected Officials Network at their 2017 National Convening and was named a “Leader of Promise” by the YWCA of Greater Austin in honor of her commitment to eliminating racism and empowering women.
She was awarded the “Champion for Children” title by the Equity Center, a Texas organization striving to create a more equitable public school finance system.
González was named the “Champion of Transparency” by the Texas Press Association in 2021.
Most recently, she earned the Texas Diversity Council’s “Leading Light Award” and was named a “Legislative Hero” by the Texas Access to Justice Foundation.
González has been recognized by Latino Leaders Magazine for her leadership in education, was recognized as one of ten “Next Generation Latinas” by Latina Magazine, and as one of the 10 newly-elected politicians to watch in the nation by NBC Latino.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).