The liberal leadership of the Texas House has again sought to water down and defeat priority conservative legislation that has already passed in the Senate, this time by completely moving the goalposts on a legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
Facing the threat of a special session should they refuse to address the issue, the Texas House chose not to allow a vote on the Texas Privacy Act or similar legislation. Instead, House lawmakers hijacked a Senate bill related to emergency preparedness plans for schools and used it as a vehicle to install a homeopathic version of the bill and send it back to the Senate.
An amendment added by State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) mandates that public schools provide, and in many cases create, private, one stall restrooms and changing facilities for “transgender” students. Paddie defended his amendment, pitching it as a compromise and something that would help “protect all the students” in Texas’ school system.
However, Patrick and Republicans have rejected the compromise, arguing it is an insufficient protection for students’ privacy. Lawmakers also have qualms about the bill given that it fails to address public restrooms in other buildings and does not protect businesses from left-wing local governments.
Taylor, the bill’s original author, then proposed that the bill be debated and worked on in a conference committee, composed of lawmakers from both chambers.
With time running out in the legislative session, Patrick has threatened to help send the Texas Legislature into a special session should the House fail to pass significant property tax reform and strong legislation to protect privacy. The sentiment has been echoed by Gov. Greg Abbott, who has said he believes lawmakers should address both issues before the session ends.