As the Legislative Session draws to a close, the House alternates between urgency to push bills through, and delays to prevent other bills from moving forward. During these last several days, the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) and some of our allies in the Texas Legislature have been working on bills to expand protection of parental rights. However, these efforts have not been easy.
Tuesday and Wednesday, the Texas Capitol was a flurry of high strung debate and procedural gimmicks. After a week of short work days on the floor, Texas House leadership waited until Tuesday–the very last possible day–to set four major bills on the House calendar. SB 19, an ethics reform measure authored by conservative champion Sen. Van Taylor, was debated on the House floor after Chairman Byron Cook hijacked the bill, amending it into a political weapon designed to squelch the free speech of activists and organizations like THSC.
Additionally, pro-life bill SB 575, CPS bill SB 206, and pro-Second Amendment campus carry bill SB 11 were all scheduled to be heard in the afternoon on Tuesday, with the deadline for all four bills looming at midnight that night.
After multiple motions by Republican members to delay lower-priority items in an attempt to save high-priority measures, things became heated. Chairman Byron Cook refused to delay consideration of ethics bill SB 19, which took up a large portion of the night and had no free speech reforms added despite valiant efforts by conservative members.
As the clock neared midnight, House leadership pressured members to withdraw all amendments to remaining legislation in order to leave time for consideration of the campus carry and pro-life bills. This came after having delayed consideration of these bills for the entire week before, and waiting until the last day to hear four major bills at once.
Conservative State Representatives Bryan Hughes and Scott Sanford, who had fought constantly to add pro-family and parental rights amendments to CPS bill SB 206, withdrew their amendments in a final effort to save the pro-life and pro-Second Amendment bills before the midnight deadline.
However, after the shenanigans pulled by House leadership that pushed the bills up against the deadline, pro-life bill SB 575 died despite efforts by conservative members to save it.
After conservative and pro-family amendments were stripped from the CPS bill SB 206, it was passed in a rush by House leadership as a reform to the CPS system that left Texas families wanting.
SB 206 was brought up again for a final vote on Wednesday, May 27. Although Representative Hughes again attempted to amend the bill, the amendment was not given the opportunity to be voted on, and SB 206 passed the Texas House without the amendment.
As a contrast to these disappointments, State Representative and home school dad James Frank passed the Equal College Opportunity (ECO) bill, SB 1543, through the Texas House on Wednesday. Authored and championed in the Senate by Sen. Charles Perry, SB 1543 is now on its way to the Governor. This bill would prevent state colleges from discriminating against home school applicants by requiring colleges that use class rank as an admission criteria to measure the rank of non-traditional students according to their standardized testing scores, rather than having it assigned at random as is done currently.
As the 84th Legislative Session closes, the THSC Watchmen continue to work and fight for your rights and freedoms as Texas families. Would you like to join the Coalition and support Keeping Texas Families Free?