Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Texas Bathroom Bill Appears To Be All But Dead In Special Session

Texas Bathroom Bill Appears To Be All But Dead In Special Session

The special session that Gov. Greg Abbott convened on July 18 must end by Wednesday.

The prospects of another one that Abbott has personally championed - curtailing cities' ability to regulate tree cutting on private land - are shaky. I would like to thank the legislature and bill authors Sen. Ron Simmons of Carrollton, who filed two bathroom bills during the special session, said earlier this week. Those bills, however, have been set according to current spending levels; the House measures boost defense spending dramatically and make substantial cuts to nondefense discretionary spending.

Republican State Representative Matt Krause of Fort Worth says, "I'd say for all intents and purposes any kind of privacy legislation is dead in the House".

"Quite candidly, at this point I don't know what a hearing would add when we already had hearings" during the regular session, he told Austin TV station KXAN.

The Abbott agenda has a decent track record in the individual chambers - the House has passed bills related to about half of the governor's agenda items, and the Senate has passed bills related to all except two. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) and would require a signature verification process for early ballots, notification of rejected ones within a month after an election, and a process for correcting errors.

The following week, House Republicans hope to pass the budget resolution, which will include reconciliation instructions for tax reform meant to prevent a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

Newborn baby found covered in ants in a bush in Houston, Texas
Neighbors questioned why the mother had left the baby outside the apartments when there is a hospital less than a block away. The unnamed mother is now in the custody of sheriffs and the local district attorney is now considering charges against her.

Most measures taken up in the special session by both chambers differ from one another. As was the case during the regular legislative session that concluded in May, efforts to pass any sort of bathroom bill - a divisive issue pitting Republicans against business leaders, LGBT advocates, law enforcement and even fellow Republicans - have stalled in the Texas House. Republicans shot down compassionate amendments offered by Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, that would exempt rape and incest victims from the bill, and from Austin Rep. Gina Hinojosa that would have excluded pregnant women with severe fetal abnormalities. Other members said they favored the amendment ban because they want the bill unchanged.

"It's not just how much you spend, but how you spend it", Taylor said.

The Senate is poised Friday to take up the House's $1.8 billion plan to change how the state funds public schools.

The Senate prefers to take the long view, likening the state's much-criticized school funding system to a broken auto the House wants to keep fixing, instead of taking time to shop for a new vehicle. Texas students "deserve transformational, top-to-bottom reforms that amount to more than Band-Aid on top of Band-Aid".

The Senate committee swiftly laid out a substitute bill Friday morning that would put $311 million into public schools, with funding from the Health and Human Services Commission.

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