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The "Contract with Texas" and the rightwing effort to shut Democrats out of the Texas HouseState representative Brian Harrison had spent only a day and a half at the Capitol when he experienced his first “betrayal,” as he puts it. It was early January, and the representative from Midlothian, 25 miles south of Dallas, was standing near his desk on the House floor as the chamber discussed rote procedural matters. One of Harrison’s allies, representative Bryan Slaton—who, later in the session, would be ejected from the Legislature after he plied a nineteen-year-old staffer with alcohol and had sex with her—had enlivened the usually dreary discussion, proposing two amendments to end what Harrison called the “insane practice” of granting some committee chairmanships to Democrats. Harrison watched as, without much debate, both measures were shot down through points of order, or POOs—the unfortunate…

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