Panel of #txlege Members "Likes" Texas Hashtag Proposal

Members of a House committee used "Twitter language" as they discussed legislation Tuesday to designate three official social media "hashtags" for the state, including the widely used #txlege. Lawmakers voted "hashtag yes" on the measures.

A panel of lawmakers Tuesday approved a proposal to designate several Texas “hashtags,” an effort to expand the state's use of social media.

The House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee voted unanimously to pass a measure by state Rep. Kenneth Sheets, R-Dallas, that would designate #txlege as the official hashtag — a label used to categorize social media posts — of the Texas Legislature. The label is already widely used on Twitter by state lawmakers, reporters and citizens watching proceedings in the Capitol.

Sheets used “Twitter language” to describe his measure, House Continuing Resolution 104, to the committee, referring to the bill as #HCR104 and addressing members by their Twitter account names.

"Hashtag thank you, Chairman 'at' Ryan Guillen," he told committee Chairman Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, as he took the podium. That translates on Twitter to "#thankyou, Chairman @RyanGuillen.”

In the last 24 hours, the hashtag #txlege had been used in 93 tweets per hour, reaching an audience of 2.9 million people on Twitter, Sheets said. He said social media was an important way for lawmakers to communicate with their constituents, "especially younger generations."

State Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock, voted “hashtag yes” on the measure. State Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, one of a small number of state lawmakers who don’t use Twitter, voted “pound sign yes.”

Last week, the same committee voted to name Hico the Steak Capital of Texas and the western honeybee the official State Pollinator.

Sheets also proposed resolutions to make #Texas the state hashtag and #TexasToDo the official label for Texas tourism. He said several tourism websites in the state already use the #TexasToDo label, and added that Texas would be the first state with an official hashtag. The committee passed both measures, which, along with the #txlege proposal, will be sent to the House for consideration.

No members of the public showed up to comment on Sheets’ proposals, but he said there were probably lots of people testifying on Twitter.