Forty-five days into the 140-day legislative session, Texas’ Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan of Beaumont has announced his first slate of legislative priorities.
Phelan’s priorities, which he says will be part of a “broader legislative package,” include maternal health and online security.
- House Bill 4 by State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R–Southlake) would provide recourse for citizens regarding how businesses collect, process, and profit from consumers’ data.
- House Bill 12 by State Rep. Toni Rose (D–Dallas) would extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers to a full year following the child’s birth.
- House Bill 18 by State Rep. Shelby Slawson (R–Stephenville) would help protect minors from private data collection and algorithm manipulation online.
- House Bill 300 by State Rep. Donna Howard (D–Austin) would exempt certain baby items such as diapers and wipes as well as feminine hygiene products from the state sales tax.
Phelan says these issues “reflect some of the most pressing issues on the minds of Texans today.”
Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi told Texas Scorecard, “I have no comment, because I’m trying to figure out whether or not it was a joke.”
Phelan previously demonstrated his disdain for grassroots priorities when he refused to even allow a vote on whether Democrats should be awarded leadership positions in the Republican-controlled Texas House. Although it was one of eight GOP legislative priorities and more than 80 percent of Republican primary voters are against the practice, Phelan appointed nine Democrats to chair House committees earlier this month.
Texas Family Project highlighted several other issues notably lacking from Phelan’s list:
Protecting children from gender modification, obscene materials, and drag shows are not 1st ballot priorities according to our Republican speaker.
Let that sink in. https://t.co/mgXAwb4kFU
— Texas Family Project (@FamilyProjectTX) February 23, 2023
Concerned citizens can use the Texas Scorecard Elected Officials Directory to let Speaker Phelan know what they want prioritized this session.