Do state reps se­cretly record each other?

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Sean Collins Walsh scwalsh@states­man.com Con­tact Sean Collins Walsh at 512-912-2939. Twit­ter: @seancwalsh

Fol­low­ing re­ports of state rep­re­sen­ta­tives se­cretly record­ing each other, Texas House Ad­min­is­tra­tion Com­mit­tee Chair­man Char­lie Geren has en­cour­aged law­mak­ers to stop.

Geren, a Fort Worth Repub­li­can whose com­mit­tee over­sees the rules of the House, said that there is no rule against leg­is­la­tors record­ing con­versa- tions. Texas law does not re­quire peo­ple to get per- mis­sion be­fore record­ing pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions they are a part of.

But he went to meet­ings of the Repub­li­can and Demo- cratic cau­cuses to en­cour­age them not to do so be­cause it isn’t “good etiquette,” he said.

“I’ve been to both dele- gation meet­ings and asked them to cut it out,” Geren said. “No­body has to cut it out. There’s no rule.”

Geren, whose com­ments were first re­ported by the Texas Tribune, said the re­ports of leg­is­la­tors making se­cret record­ings are so far un­con­firmed and de­clined to say who was in­volved in the ru­mors.

The po­ten­tial for con­ver­sa­tions among leg­is­la­tors be­ing recorded could fur­ther strain re­la­tions be­tween the var­i­ous fac­tions of the House, in­clud­ing be­tween sup­port­ers of Speaker Joe Straus, R-San An­to­nio, and the tea party-backed wing of the GOP cau­cus that be­lieves his agenda isn’t suf­fi­ciently con­ser­va­tive.

Geren is a top lieu­tenant of Straus, who is of­ten crit­i­cized by hard-line con­ser­va­tives for us­ing par­lia­men­tary ma­neu­vers and de­lay tac­tics to kill bills that are pri­or­i­ties of the far right.

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