Abortion, voting rights, anti-LGBT: Republicans revert back to their natural position as culture warriors

by | May 21, 2019 | Policy, Texas Legislature

With the final day of the 86th Texas Legislature less than a week away, the Republican-controlled Legislature has been hard at work advancing a dizzying number of culture- warrior bills.

Here’s a recap of where things stand:

Abortion. Republicans rammed through a bill that targets the funding of abortion and other health care services, like HIV testing, diabetes, and cervical cancer screenings.

The bill would block government entities from partnering with abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood. Senate Bill 22 is expected to return to the Senate for one more vote before heading to the governor’s desk.

Voting rights. A wide-ranging voter suppression bill disguised as a law that strengthens election security measures failed to pass in the House over the weekend.

Senate Bill 9 would have made it more difficult to cast a vote in Texas – especially for those with a disability and in communities of color. The bill also called for criminal penalties for those who make innocent mistakes on a ballot.

Of concern is the fact that one harmful provision from the failed bill could find life in a separate voter registration bill tentatively approved by the Senate on Monday. Critics say the amendment to House Bill 2911 would make it riskier for people to register to vote.

LGBTQ. On Monday, House Republicans passed an anti-LGBTQ bill that bars the government from “adverse action”– such as denying a contract– to persons or organizations because of “membership in, affiliation with, or contribution… to a religious organization.”

Pitched as a religious liberty bill, Senate Bill 1978 takes aim at the freedom of local governments to deny partnership with businesses or persons who are anti-LGBTQ. Advocates also warn the bill would allow businesses to refuse service to the LGBTQ community.

The bill heads to the Senate this week to approve changes before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott.

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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