Legislative Priorities Report May 21, 2021
Yesterday was a great day in the Texas House . . . if the most important priority of the session for you was criminal justice reform. If you think protecting Texas children from sterilization and physical mutilation is important, it was the worst day of the session.
One would assume that Republican priorities would take precedence for the session, as the voters chose a Republican majority in our state legislature. Additionally, one would think that they would have made a plan at the beginning of the session — in conjunction with Republicans in the Senate — to work together to get our bills passed at the beginning of the session. That does not appear, however, to be the case.
What happened yesterday morning on the House floor was extraordinary. Rep. Leach, joined by Democrat Joe Moody, expressed frustration with the Senate for not passing over 70 bills on criminal justice reform sent by the House, and asked for a recess from the House voting on Senate bills as punishment. By the way, 70 bills on criminal justice reform are more bills passed on a single issue than all of our bills filed that meet our Republican Party of Texas Legislative Priorities.
Speaker Phelan announced there would be a recess until Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm. We had several priority bills that needed to be assigned to a House committee for a vote, then assigned to the Calendars Committee to be placed on the House schedule . . . all before the midnight deadline on Tuesday, May 25th. These bills were effectively killed as he did not make those assignments before he gaveled out.
Our biggest priority casualty was SB 1311, the bill that was our last chance at getting protections for children from doctors who would assign puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and perform surgery on them to approximate the opposite sex. It is unconscionable that our Republican representatives did not see fit to protect kids as more important than criminal justice reform. But they did. They even have a Criminal Justice Caucus comprised of Republican Reps, Leach, Phelan, Krause, Cain, White, and Hunter. The Democrats on the Caucus are Reps. Moody, Thompson, Coleman, Collier, Gonzalez, and Minjarez.
This Caucus has obviously worked very hard this session in a bipartisan fashion to effect criminal justice reform. But, who asked them to put this priority over others? Not the Republican voters of Texas. In fact, I assume most of us had no idea there was even a Criminal Justice Reform Caucus. Too bad there is not a Protect Texas Children Caucus, since our kids are experiencing skyrocketing rates of mental health issues and suicide. Who will address the lies of Planned Parenthood and comprehensive sex education in our schools who seek to convince them they are not male or female based on biology, but instead whatever 57 genders they may feel? Who will then protect them from the profit-driven medical and pharmaceutical industry salivating at the prospect of the millions of dollars to be made in all the 16+ pediatric gender clinics popping up over the state?
Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that the TEC lists a $50,000 donation to Speaker Phelan’s campaign from Friends of UT Southwestern Medical School PAC. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick received $120,000, and Gov. Abbott received $85,000 from the same organization. Would there be any friends in that PAC of doctors who perform gender-affirming services for children?
Other priority bills that are casualties include Election Integrity, Religious Freedom, and protecting Monuments. For the latest updates on the status of Priority bills comparing those of the Governor, Lt. Governor, the Speaker, and the Republican Party of Texas Priorities, use this link.
What we do still have in play is HB 1927, our Constitutional Carry bill which is still in Conference Committee. Also, we have SB 7, our omnibus Election Integrity bill that we really hope will be robust and not watered down to please the Democrats. Most of our other Election Integrity bills are dead.
Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying, SB 10, has been so altered by Rep. Paddie that it may actually be a bill favorable to the lobbyists and so will need to be killed. This priority, which really holds the key to so many of our other priorities, has been fiercely resisted by those on both sides, in spite of really good efforts by Rep. Middleton and Sen. Bettencourt.
Many are already hailing this as “the most conservative session ever.” That perspective might depend on who else could be paying to see our Legislative Priorities derailed. As you can see from the spreadsheet it’s been a very successful session for the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker. You can determine if it’s been a success for you, the Republican voter.
1. Call the Speaker at 512-464-1000 and tell him we still want him to push through HB 1311 to protect Texas children, and that we want robust Election Reform, Constitutional Carry, Monument Protection, and a Ban on Tax Payer Funded Lobbying.
2. Please call the Governor at 512-463-2000 and tell him the same.
3. Call your Representative and Senator and let them know what your priorities are.
For God and Texas,
SREC, SD 12
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee
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