Texas Legislative Round-Up: Week Four

by | Feb 3, 2023 | Policy, Texas Legislature

Welcome to the Texas Legislative Round-up! We are here to break down the latest Texas Legislative session in Austin. Every week, we’ll give you the honest take on the news that impacts you – without pretending it doesn’t. 

Week in Review

This was a slow week at the capitol due to the winter storms that stretched across the state. Cities across Texas were impacted by frozen roads, power outages, and days of freezing temperatures. In a functioning state, the storm is all we should be reporting this week but of course – we live in Greg Abbott’s Texas.  

On the eve of the storm, before hundreds of thousands of Texans were about to lose power in life-threatening conditions, Greg Abbott used it as an opportunity to grandstand on more culture wars. On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to a Corpus Christi private academy to call for lawmakers to pass a voucher scheme.

The advocacy group Texas Freedom Network raised alarms about this visit. Texas Freedom Network Political Director Carisa Lopez said, “With re-election behind him, Gov. Abbott’s contempt for public education seems to be reaching full fury now,” Lopez said. “For the past two years the governor has recklessly attacked our public schools and the teachers there who work hard to educate millions of Texas children. Now he has gone to a Christian academy to call for diverting tax dollars from our neighborhood schools to subsidize religious and private schools that aren’t accountable to taxpayers at all. Someone should remind Gov. Abbott that he was elected to serve all Texas families, not exclusive academies that get to pick and choose which students to admit into their classrooms.”

What to Watch

We are still waiting for Texas House Committees to be released. The composition of these committees will tell us how fast bad bills will move to become law as well as how fast good bills can die. This will tell us a lot about how this session will go for reproductive rights, LGBTQ Texans, and public education. 

Also, we will see how Texas Republicans respond to the loss of power in Austin this storm. Of course, Republicans never weatherized our power grid after the deadly 2021 winter storm that killed Texans and traumatized the state itself. Instead, they used that session as an opportunity to outlaw abortion, attack transgender children, and make it easier for dangerous people to get guns. While Austinites were suffering from the impacts of the storm, state Republicans didn’t lift a finger to help, but instead began plotting on how to privatize Austin’s public energy utility. Greg Abbott and Dade Phelan will never miss an opportunity to capitalize on heartache from others so this will be one to watch. 

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