Welcome to the Texas Legislative Round-up! We are here to break down the latest news from the 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
The terrible Texas Republican culture war two-step is in full swing this week at the legislature. This week saw the debate of the budget in the State House of Representatives. This is always a hallmark night in session, where debate on amendments can become pretty heated between House members. Because of all the action this week, we set up this recap a bit differently to help break it all down.
- Budget Blues and News
- Under Republican Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), Texas Republicans are funneling millions of taxpayer dollars into anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. These state-funded crisis pregnancy centers gave medical misinformation to NBC News producers seeking counseling. For a deeper dive into the dangerous programs, read Mary Tuma’s well-researched piece.
- A test vote on school vouchers happened on Thursday. After the protests of some Republicans, the House voted 86-52 to approve Democrat Representative Herrero’s amendment barring the use of state dollars for “school vouchers or other similar programs.”
- State of Hate
- According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — the Texas legislature is moving historic levels of anti-LGBTQ legislation. By the end of this week, the Texas Senate had passed five anti-LGBTQ bills, including multiple bans on drag performances, a ban on transgender student-athletes in universities, and a ban on medically-necessary gender-affirming medical care. In response, Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel issued the following: “The animus aimed at transgender Texans is particularly heart-wrenching, especially when coupled with the glee of the anti-trans forces behind these bills.”
- Disappointing Dems
- While Republicans are actively pushing the most heinous legislation, many Democrats are joining them with unfortunate votes. While they eventually switched their votes, two Senators voted for anti-LGBTQ legislation this week and five Democrats in the House voted for the disastrous funding increase for fake anti-abortion clinics. Rumors also swirled about Democrats who were aligned with Republican Speaker Phelan killing positive amendments introduced by fellow Democrat members.
In truth, the legislative session is hard and at this point in the session, things will only get harder. There are endless incentives for Democrats to cave to Republicans for pebbles of power. We applaud and cheer for the Democrat members in the House and Senate who work every day to represent the interests of their constituents, protect civil rights, and stand up for a Texas we all believe in. And as always, we’ll be watching and reporting about who shows up.
And on that note, please enjoy this clip of House Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Martinez-Fischer exposing the disrespectful way Texas Republicans treat our teachers.
What to Watch
Though the House rejected vouchers in the test vote during the budget debate, the bill process will still continue and Abbott will have more time to apply pressure on House members. On Tuesday, a House committee will hear a number of voucher bills. With Dan Patrick and Greg Abbott both on board, the House fight on vouchers will be one to watch. Will they fold or will Greg Abbott continue his no-good special session streak?