Update: Since publication, the Critical Race Theory Bill has been passed out of the House Education Committee.
The chances of two pieces of conservative priority legislation passing the Texas House are looking slim, after a Democrat House chairman expressed frustration with the process.
During the Texas House Public Education Committee meeting on Monday evening, the Chairman State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. (D–Houston), took a few moments to express his frustration with what he alleges is the recent phenomenon of the Texas Senate attempting to strong-arm actions of the Texas House of Representatives.
In doing so, he said:
“It’s gotten worse today. It’s gotten worse to the point where today, what I’m told is that if we dont pass two bills, the CRT bill and the transgender bill, the Senate is not going to consider trying to fix the funding in Article 10, so I want to see if [Lt. Gov. Patrick] has his big boy pants on. This meeting is adjourned.”
What Does it All Mean?
Less than one week remains in the ongoing second called special legislative session. The abrupt adjournment almost certainly makes the legislative prospects of the bill seeking to make improvements to the supposed ban on critical race theory and the bill seeking to require that public school students play in sports associated with their biological sex at birth are less likely to cross the legislative finish line.
Both bills were considered in a public hearing last week but were ultimately left pending, and both are issues included on Gov. Greg Abbott’s special session agenda.
In the regular legislative session, the Legislature passed a supposed ban on critical race theory. Though the author, State Rep. Steve Toth (R–The Woodlands), contended it was the strongest ban in the country, Abbott sought to add improvements to it for consideration in a special session. In the waning days of the regular session, the youth sports bill was set on a calendar for consideration by the overall House, behind a long list of other bills. As the deadline precluding consideration of bills crept closer, the sponsor of the bill, Dutton, postponed it beyond that of the deadline, ending its prospects. Almost immediately thereafter, Lt. Gov. Patrick called for it to be considered in a future special session.
With just days left in the current special session, it remains to be seen whether a compromise will be reached between Patrick and House leadership over the consideration of the restoration of their own legislative funding versus other priorities, like that of improving the ban on critical race theory and youth sports protections.
In the event the special session does conclude without those items, it also remains unclear whether they would be added to a future special session agenda.