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
While the legislative session started in January, now is the start of action in earnest. The bills that will pass– and those that will fail – are coming into focus. Unfortunately, for people who care about making this state better, that mostly means we will be monitoring bills that pose threats to vulnerable populations in Texas.
This week was particularly rough for LGBTQ advocates, ending the longest stretch in the history of bad hearings at the capitol. This week, multiple anti-LGBTQ bills advanced in the legislature. Most of these bills were aimed at attacking transgender youth. One of these bills includes Senate Bill 14 which would ban age-appropriate medically necessary care for transgender youth under the age of 18 by prohibiting medical professionals from providing care and prohibiting public money from being spent on gender-affirming care and measures that would impact insurance of coverage.
SB 14 passed the full Senate body this week while a companion bill was heard in the House on Monday. In response, Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, released this statement “SB 14 bans medically necessary, safe, age-appropriate health care that’s backed by decades of research and is supported by the entire American medical establishment. Ill-informed politicians in Austin are interfering with the rights of Texas parents to access best practice medical care for their children and trying to tell them how to create safe and stable homes for their kids. Enough is enough. We will continue to fight and make our voices heard until all Texans have access to the health care they deserve.”
This week also saw attacks on voting and reproductive rights by Texas Republicans. We are in uncharted territory with the number of bad bills moving at this point in the session, and April will likely see this historic uptick continue.
What to Watch
This upcoming Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives will debate the budget. Budget night is usually a rambunctious night full of serious policy fights as well as fights about feral hogs. We will see if this session continues the long history.
In the meantime, enjoy this legendary clip from 2017.