Texas Bar Sunset


Political party platforms regarding the Texas Bar:

Plank #26 of the Texas Republican party platform (of 2024), says:

26. Licensing: We call upon the Texas Legislature to review all Texas Department of Licenses and Regulations (TDLR), business/professional licensing programs, and associated licensing for the purpose of abolishing or removing as many as reasonably possible and repealing those laws, rules, and regulations.
a) Practice of Medicine: We support allowing any board-licensed medical graduate to practice medicine under the supervision of a full physician, just as Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physicians Assistants (PAs) are permitted to practice medicine under the supervision of a full physician.
b) Practice of Law: We oppose mandatory State Bar membership. The Texas Bar may not collect any more dues unless it conducts a membership referendum and with more than two-thirds of all dues-paying members approve of the mandatory membership requirement. We support sanctions for those who weaponize and politicize the legal disciplinary process of Texas in attorney disciplinary matters. Texas should adopt a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard instead of its current “preponderance of the evidence.” The State Bar of Texas may not try to influence judges, justices, judicial candidates, or associations.

SOURCE:  https://texasgop.org/platform

Plank #26 reportedly passed with a 93% approval rate, with 6725 delegates in favor and 477 opposed...

Texas legislature

Two years beforehand, plank #40 of the previous Texas Republican platform (of 2022) said, in relevant part:

40. PRACTICE OF LAW:  We oppose mandatory state bar membership for Texas lawyers.   We favor restricting those who may file grievances in the legal disciplinary process of Texas to those who have standing.   Further, we support sanctions for those who weaponize and politicize the legal disciplinary process of Texas.

SOURCE:  https://texasgop.org/platform

"Standing" to file a grievance against a lawyer is now a requirement in Texas, and weaponizing the Texas bar has been increasingly acknowledged and even branded as "lawfare". Plank #26b) of 2024 shows some of what's left to achieve, even in alternative scenarios. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile the Texas Libertarians have adopted a plank involving occupational licensing that is rather similar to that of the Texas Republicans. In 2024, their platform says in relevant part:

II.1.d. Occupational Licensing
The exercise of an occupation or profession should be regarded as a natural right, not subject to regulation or taxation by the government. Government's role in professional practices, if any, should be limited to protection against fraud or abuse. Therefore, LPTexas advocates for the repeal of all statutes regarding licensing occupations or professional practices.

SOURCE: https://www.LPTexas.org/platform

Since two years beforehand, plank #2.9 of the national Libertarian platform (of 2022) has said, in relevant part:

2.9 Licensing

Libertarians support the right of every person to earn an honest and peaceful living through the free and voluntary exchange of goods and services. Accordingly, we oppose occupational and other licensing laws that infringe on this right or treat it as a state-granted privilege. We encourage certifications by voluntary associations of professionals.

SOURCE: https://www.lp.org/platform

We look forward to learning what the Texas Democrats' position is on mandatory membership in the Texas Bar... Behind the scenes, influential members of their party say they eagerly support making Texas Bar membership voluntary. Is such invisible support for meaningful reform enough to deserve our votes, though?

At any rate, the Texas legislature is increasingly taking notice. Incidentally, during 2021 amidst a very brief special legislative session, Rep. Briscoe Cain filed HB 129 which would greatly accelerate the Sunset Review of the Texas Bar. Meanwhile, the Texas Bar continues to parasitically reject membership-originated bar reform attempts. Is it surprising that nowadays the voter abstention rate of Texas Bar members in that bar's month-long, annual and internet-enabled elections is around 80%? Why does the Texas Bar continue getting to enjoy lucrative mandatory bar membership privileges if only around 20% of members even see fit to vote in that bar's annual elections? Is it not significant that the 5th Circuit court of federal appeals found the Texas Bar to be in noncompliance with both state statutory law and federal jurisprudence otherwise prohibiting that Bar's being politically partisan? By the way, how has the Texas Bar subsequently treated whistleblowers regarding its embezzlement cover-up issues? Meanwhile, why is what amounts to judicial bribery by the Texas Bar still tolerated?

               Anyhow, is it not remarkable how most attorneys here in the U.S.A. are NOT required to be a member of ANY state bar association?   Attorneys in many U.S. states simply take the bar exam (or do a qualifying apprenticeship or graduate from an accredited law school in Wisconsin), and if they pass, they remain subject to attorney discipline if they allegedly inadequately comply with (often vague) ethics rules while practicing law.  However, unlike here in Texas, they are NOT forced to join trade association bar associations or other labor unions which have problems such as those inevitably plaguing the Texas Bar.   Nearly half of U.S. states do not even have mandatory membership "unified" state bar associations.   By "unified" we mean that they merge attorney disciplinary activities with potentially corrupting trade association ones like the Texas Bar greedily continues doing. Is it not time for substantial change?  

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