Here at E4A we’re watching the upcoming midterm elections, including races in the Texas State Senate and House of Representatives. While you may know much of this already, it’s worth setting out what changes may be coming in the coming months and what to expect with legislators and legislation in Texas in 2019, especially as E4A is in discussions with key legislators about a bill next session.
One thing to remember, though: adoptee rights legislation, particularly around the issue of original birth certificates, does not break by party. It is a bipartisan issue affected typically by issues unrelated to party affiliation.
TEXAS STATE SENATE
The Texas Senate has 31 members. The chamber is currently Republican controlled, 20-11. Fifteen seats are being contested on November 6, including the seat held by Donna Campbell, who has steadfastly opposed adoptee rights legislation in Texas. Republican control of the Senate is not expected to change. Two new senators will be elected. Otherwise, 13 of the 15 contested races involve incumbents.
TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The Texas House has 150 members. The chamber is currently Republican controlled, 95-55. All 150 seats are up for election on November 6, though 47 seats are unopposed. Twenty seats will be filled by new legislators. Significantly, the former Republican Speaker of the House, Joe Straus, is not seeking reelection. The Texas House is considered a “safe” Republican controlled chamber.
WHO’S STAYING, WHO’S GOING?
House Speaker Joe Straus is not seeking reelection. While it is expected that Tan Parker will be the new Speaker, five representatives have already filed for the position. Rep. Parker was a co-author of a clean OBC bill last legislative session. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is expected to win reelection, and he will continue to wield power as the President of the Texas Senate, controlling what bills are considered by the chamber.
Senator Brandon Creighton, committed to sponsoring and moving clean bills, will remain in the Senate. Three Senate sponsors of prior clean OBC bills, however, are not seeking reelection or were defeated in primary races. Joe Deshotel, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives and another solid supporter of adoptee rights legislation, is running unopposed for his current seat.
THE RACE TO WATCH
The Senate District 25 race between Donna Campbell and Steven Kling is the one to watch. If Kling defeats Campbell, an uphill battle in a heavily conservative and Republican district, the ability to pass clean legislation in Texas will be vastly improved.