On August 14, the Chairman of the House Administration Committee, State Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Ft. Worth), released the results of a survey of House Members' responses to a range of questions about the operation of the House in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the results was published by Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report the same day. The questionaire included 38 questions, with 13 (!) open-ended items. We've created graphics for most of the responses, including the open-ended responses, which were coded into categories when appropriate. (Some of the questions were simply general inquiries.) Each graphic below includes the question and the number of respondents to that item. Based on the released results, 116 of the 150 House members responded at least partially to the questionnaire, though not all of the respondents answered all 38 questions.
Fair warning: some of the graphics for the open-ended questions, which we've put at the top of the post since these items weren't coded in the QR release, are a bit unweildy as a result of the length of the stem (i.e. the question), the tendency of most questions to invite mulit-part responses, and our desire to split more than we lumped in order to capture some of the nuance of the open-ended responses.
Compilations of responses to multiple close-ended questions.
|Temperature checks for entry||87%|
|Designating Member/staff entrances||86%|
|Requiring daily temperature checks||84%|
|Requiring face masks in public spaces||82%|
|Limiting floor access to essential staff||79%|
|Limiting public tours to specific areas||79%|
|Keeping the Members' lounge open||75%|
|Requiring face masks during the session||74%|
|Requiring testing for COVID-19||73%|
|Limiting size of visitor groups in the gallery||63%|
|Suspending public tours||60%|
|Suspending floor recognitions||59%|
|Spacing Members out across the floor & gallery||54%|
|Limiting public access to the Capitol||53%|
|Permitting vistor groups in the gallery||51%|
|Requiring face shields||42%|
|Permitting outside groups to reserve public spaces||39%|
|Item||Percent responding "Yes"|
|Use Zoom or any similar platform to meet with constituents and advocacy groups?||91%|
|Welcome guests or hold meetings in your office?||68%|
|Limit your staff or interns?||61%|
|Limit food and beverage in your office?||33%|
Under what circumstances do you believe the Texas Capitol should be fully re-opened to the general public?
|When safety measures are implemented||30%|
|When a vaccine is available||24%|
|When the data indicates that it is safe||22%|
|When experts determine it's safe||15%|
|It should be open right now||15%|
|At a reduced capacity||11%|
|When the virus is contained or no longer a danger||8%|
|When the session begins||5%|
|When it is "reasonably" safe||4%|
|It shouldn't be opened||3%|
|Up to the members||2%|
What practices and protocols do you believe are necessary in order to safely conduct the legislative session in a manner that both protects the health and safety of lawmakers and staff and follows federal social distancing guidelines?
|Limit capacity / access||18%|
|Frequent sanitizing (e.g. microphone covers)||16%|
|Follow expert (e.g. CDC) guidelines||15%|
|Partial or completely virtual session||14%|
|Provide hand sanitizer / washing stations||13%|
|Remote or Proxy voting||8%|
|Limit floor / committee time||7%|
|Scheduling to limit interaction||4%|
|Too soon to tell||2%|
|No mandatory masks||1%|
|Social distancing (e.g. spacing seats)||55%|
|Limiting access / capacity||29%|
|Virtual / Remote participation||21%|
|Provide hand sanitizer / washing stations||12%|
|Regular cleaning / sterilization||10%|
|Follow expert (e.g. CDC) guidelines||7%|
|Testing / Rapid tests||3%|
Do you believe the House should consider amending its rules or housekeeping resolution in times of a pandemic or natural disaster, and if so, what types of amendments would you consider most important, taking into account the public access requirements ou
|Allow remote member participation||35%|
|Allow remote testimony||34%|
|Should consider general changes to rules||31%|
|Limit public access||10%|
|No need to change the rules||10%|
|Follow expert (e.g. CDC) guidelines||5%|
|Limit bill filings||3%|
|Limit amendment filing||2%|
|Limit media access||1%|
|Limit staff access||1%|
Do you believe the Capitol cafeteria should serve food during the pandemic, and if so, how might operations be adjusted in order to ensure the health and safety of patrons?
|Yes - same modifications as restaurants||54%|
|Yes - take out/delivery only||23%|
|Yes - pre-packaged food, no self-service||16%|
|Yes - normal operations||8%|
|Yes - only members and staff||4%|
In the event one or a combination of safety measures including face masks, face shields, and temperature checks are required, how should it be handled if a lawmaker or staff member declines to participate?
|Restrict Access (i.e. to floor, hearings, and/or building)||41%|
|Nothing should happen / Up to the Member||19%|
|Like any other house rule||14%|
|Reminder or Encouragement||4%|
|Notify lawmakers and staff||4%|
|Restrict Access (i.e. to floor, hearings, and/or building)||43%|
|Shouldn't be required / Up to the Member||17%|
|Allow or make them participate remotely||12%|
|Notify lawmakers and staff||2%|
What safety protocols do you plan to implement in your own office — whether limiting the number of visitors or groups, requiring face masks/PPE, enforcing social distancing or other measures?
|Limiting visitors, appointment only||50%|
|Limiting size or stay of groups in office||27%|
|Limited staff, remote work||17%|
|More virtual meetings||13%|
|Regular cleaning, sanitizing||9%|
|Follow expert (e.g. CDC) guidelines||5%|
|Depends on COVID||5%|
|Routine testing should be conducted among lawmakers even if they are not presenting symptoms||63.39%|
|Testing should only be conducted on lawmakers who are presenting symptoms of COVID-19||25.89%|
|Testing should not be required for lawmakers||10.71%|
To what degree should testing for COVID-19 be required for staff who are working within the Capitol?
|Routine testing should be conducted among staff even if they are not presenting symptoms||64.29%|
|Testing should only be conducted on staff who are presenting symptoms of COVID-19||26.79%|
|Testing should not be required for staff||8.93%|
Do you favor or oppose requiring daily temperature checks during session and any other legislative activities within the Capitol?
Do you favor or oppose requiring face masks while in the Capitol common areas, committee rooms and public meeting spaces?
Do you favor or oppose requiring face shields during session and any other legislative activities within the Capitol?
Do you plan to limit your session staff or interns in order to decrease the number of individuals in your office and the building?
Do you favor or oppose requiring face masks during the session and any other legislative activities within the Capitol?
Would you like to see the House offer sanitized rooms that could be scheduled by your staff for the purpose of holding meetings with the public?
Do you favor or oppose permitting visitor groups in the gallery during session if their size and number were limited?
Do you favor or oppose designating certain entrances of the Capitol building to be used only by members and staff?
Do you favor or oppose limiting public access to the Capitol to individuals who have business in the building during the pandemic?
Do you favor or oppose requiring testing for COVID-19 during session and any other legislative activities within the Capitol?
Do you favor or oppose permitting outside public groups to reserve and use public spaces like committee rooms, the legislative conference center and member's extension lounge?