Legislation originally intended to prohibit critical race theory from being taught in Texas public schools is now on its way to the governor.
However, some are concerned the bill’s current form could actually require the teaching of critical race theory.
House Bill 3979 by State Rep. Steve Toth (R–The Woodlands) was intended to equip Texas students with an understanding of the foundation of the United States and self-governance. The bill prevented teachers from utilizing controversial critical race theory, which has come under fire from conservatives as a Marxist ideology.
When it was passed out of the House earlier this month, the legislation was significantly watered down with Democrat amendments. For example, one amendment required the teaching of “the history of white supremacy.” Another amendment added the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the life and work of Cesar Chavez. And another requires teaching the history of the League of Latin American Citizens, a leftist political group that advocates for open borders.
When the bill passed the Texas Senate, however, the controversial Democrat amendments were stripped away.
On Friday, Toth moved to concur with the Senate’s version rather than send the bill to a conference committee.
But shortly after Toth made his motion, Democrat State Rep. James Talarico (Round Rock) called a point of order, arguing the Senate’s changes were not germane to the bill sent out of the House.
Speaker Dade Phelan upheld the point of order, sending the bill back to the Senate.
“House Democrats have outmaneuvered the Republicans on this bill using parliamentary procedure, leaving them with few options,” said Austin attorney Tony McDonald, shortly after the bill was sent back. “Of course, when the parliamentarian is a Democrat and the speaker is elected by Democrats, that’s kind of predictable.”
But just hours later, the Senate, by resolution, withdrew its amendments, effectively sending the watered-down House version to the governor.
Constitutional law expert and former State Rep. Matt Rinaldi says the bill, as it currently exists, could actually have the opposite effect.
Please tell me the Democrats didn’t trick Texas Republicans into passing a bill requiring critical race theory be taught in public schools. Because the house version of that bill looks like it implements the 1619 project.
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) May 29, 2021
Texas officials are going to claim that they passed a bill to ban CRT. However, due to the weakness of House Republicans, the bill actually requires the teaching of how America is systematically racist. It is a scam! Don’t let them get away with it!
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) May 29, 2021
The bill will now be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott for his approval.