AUSTIN — Children across Texas still face genital mutilation, women’s sports are still threatened, families are still being taxed out of their homes, the state’s power grid is still unstable, and the southern border is a humanitarian crisis.

But at least state lawmakers have time for college football.

On Monday, the “Senate Select Committee on the Future of College Sports in Texas” met to discuss the recent national news of the Universities of Texas and Oklahoma moving their athletic programs from the Big XII Conference to the Southeastern Conference. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick formed the committee “to study the athletic & economic impact to TX schools & communities by UT’s exit.”

The committee’s hearing was filled with lawmakers questioning Big XII Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, as well as hours of testimony from administrators from schools such as Texas Tech, Baylor, and Texas Christian that say their own programs and local economies would be harmed by UT’s departure.

The hearing also comes amid theatrical political drama at the Capitol and lawmakers in the other chamber still not completing citizens’ priority work.

The storyline traces back to the regular state legislative session, when Republican lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives chose not to approve priority legislation—such as protecting children from scarring gender operations.

On that issue, proposed laws would’ve prohibited medical professionals from disfiguring children in Texas, outlawing operations such as cutting off their healthy body parts or giving them sterilizing cross-sex hormones (a prominent issue with the recent nationally known case of Dallas 9-year-old James Younger).

But during the legislative session, despite citizen outcry and the proposed child protection laws becoming one of the Republican Party of Texas’ top priorities, Republican lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives killed the effort.

The same story played out for numerous other issues, including proposed protections for women’s sports or reforms to secure Texas’ elections—where Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives even waited until the very end of session to tackle the “priority,” then blamed Democrat representatives for using a parliamentary maneuver to run out the clock and leave the work unfinished.

The drama and refusal to complete work continued in their July special session, convened by Gov. Greg Abbott after Republican lawmakers chose not to pass the priority laws during their regular time.

In the first part of the month, House Republicans again enabled Democrat representatives—who are in the minority of the chamber—to dictate the House by allowing them to flee on a private jet to Washington, D.C., “breaking quorum” and leaving the House stalled.

House Republicans then predictably blamed Democrats for botching the session, even though they were the ones who chose not to complete the work in the spring.

The Senate, meanwhile, largely passed the agenda for the special session in short order, and has been left waiting for action from other chamber.

Thus, today’s college sports forum.

Some citizens, however, are speaking out about the infuriating lack of action.

“Is this a joke? We have much larger issues to focus on right now,” one individual tweeted.

“Maybe a functioning power grid would be a better use of your time,” another wrote.

“So I went without water and interrupted electricity over five days this winter and this is what you want to spend my tax dollars on???” another said.

Ironically, State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock), a powerful committee chairman who was a key player in stopping the child protections and other priority laws during the regular session, made sure to attend and speak at Monday’s college football meeting.

Though the Legislature remains largely stalled until the end of the week, concerned citizens may still contact their state representatives, senator, and Gov. Abbott.

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.