AUSTIN — Don’t believe state lawmakers if they tell you they “ran out of time” to pass critically needed laws.

While children across the state currently face chemical and surgical castration, state lawmakers—who have only 19 days left in their legislative session and still have not completed urgent Republican priority laws—are busy with important business like soft drinks and naming the Texas star mushroom the official mushroom of the state.

Indeed, on Tuesday, Texas House Republicans passed a handful of other critical “resolutions”—naming Llano the official barrel racing capital of Texas, designating Missouri City the official hip-hop capital of Texas, and recognizing Fort Davis as the highest town in Texas.

Meanwhile, House Bill 1399—a proposed law to prohibit medical professionals from performing permanently scarring operations on healthy children—remains legislatively stalled and is soon to be dead.

HB 1399 would stop procedures such as cutting off children’s healthy body parts and administering cross-sex hormones and other sterilizing drugs. The bill was originally proposed after the issue took a national spotlight in Texas with the case of James Younger, a now 9-year-old Dallas-area boy whose mother wanted to force him—against the father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually be castrated.

Citizens have lobbied at the Capitol for the child protection bill, but the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives has left HB 1399 unscheduled for several weeks.

Recently, however, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller entered the fight, publicly calling out Republican leadership for “holding up” the proposed protections.

Soon after, powerful Calendars Committee chairman State Rep. Dustin Burrows scheduled the bill for consideration in the full House chamber. But with the bill at the tail end of the Legislature’s long calendar for Wednesday, they will likely not touch it before a deadline on Thursday at midnight.

Yet Burrows and Republican leadership have had time for official state mushrooms and the “highest town in Texas” and have scheduled another “important” item for Wednesday in front of the child protection bill: designating Dr Pepper as the official state soft drink.

If that wasn’t enough, last week, they named San Marcos the “official mermaid capital of Texas.”

On the other side of the Capitol, the Texas Senate has already passed a similar proposed law to classify certain disfiguring operations as child abuse. This means even if the Texas House chooses to let HB 1399 die, legislators will have the opportunity to consider and approve the Senate’s law in the final couple weeks of the session.

But that’s only if they’re done with their sodas in time.

Concerned citizens may contact their state representatives.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.