Rep. Delwin Jones Calls for House Changes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/17/08

Rep. Delwin Jones Calls for House Changes

Two of the 12 candidates seeking to be the next state House speaker met Wednesday  to discuss ideas to avoid the turmoil that erupted last time the Legislature met.

Republican Rep. Tommy Merritt of Longview and Rep. Delwin Jones of Lubbock called for using a secret ballot to elect the next speaker.

The 150 members of the House will elect the next speaker to a two-year when they convene Jan. 13. There's a contentious effort to deny Republican Speaker Tom Craddick a fourth term in the seat.

Merritt says the House's departure from using a sealed ballot has discouraged competition for speaker. Merritt also called for changing the House committee structure to ensure that House districts are fully represented, rather than being beholden to the speaker and increasing the oversight for large expenditures of House funds.

Craddick's detractors have long complained that he rules the chamber like a dictator and strongarms lawmakers into obedience.

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