"Two Democrats' Defections Give Republicans Supermajority in Texas
Dallas Morning News via FR
: Two Democrats in the Texas House announced Tuesday they are
: switching to the Republican Party in a move that gives the GOP a
: supermajority in the chamber.
: Rep. Aaron Pena of Edinburg appeared at a news conference with Gov.
: Rick Perry and House Speaker Joe Straus to proclaim his move to the
: GOP along with fellow Democrat Allan Ritter of Nederland in
: Southeast Texas.
: Ritter had already indicated his intentions to shift his party
: The new Republican House members will give the GOP 101 seats in the
: lower chamber in the 2011 Legislature, a number that will allow the
: party to exercise power not seen in the House since the early 1980s
: when the Democrats had more than 100 of the 150 seats.
: The figure for the GOP includes a vacant House seat in Central
: Texas that is expected to be won by a Republican in a special
: election on Tuesday.
: Both Pena and Ritter were elected to new terms as Democrats last
: With a supermajority, House Republicans will be able establish a
: quorum and conduct business without Democrats. They can also
: approve constitutional amendments without Democratic support.