Texas House speaker removes Democrat who left state from leadership position

Texas House of Representatives Speaker Dade Phelan (R) announced the removal of Joseph Moody (D) from Moody’s position as speaker pro tem of the chamber on July 15. The speaker pro tem performs the duties of the speaker in his or her absence. Moody had served in the position for two sessions. Moody was one of the Democratic legislators who left the state earlier in the week causing the chamber to no longer have a quorum.

On July 12, enough members of the chamber’s Democratic caucus left the state during consideration of House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 1 to break quorum. The bills being considered were packages of voting-related legislation. Democratic legislators also walked out over similar legislation ahead of the close of the regular session on May 30, causing Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to call a special session for reconsideration.

Phelan did not issue a statement but said the removal was effective immediately. Moody issued the following statement: “The most important titles in my life will never change: Dad, Husband, El Pasoan. Nothing political has ever even cracked the top three, so nothing has changed about who I am or what my values are.”

The Texas Tribune said Moody was “one of Phelan’s top allies in the Democratic Party,” citing their work together on bills relating to the state’s criminal justice system.