Key Issues for a State Senator from Conroe, Texas

During his tenure as senator, Conroe's state representative has taken the initiative on key issues that are important to job creators in Texas, such as franchise and property tax relief. For the third time, the Senate is pushing a proposal that, according to critics, will ignore the existence of LGBTQ people at all school levels. Two other bills that contained similar language missed key legislative deadlines. Priority bills that failed include a minimum sentence of 10 years for firearms-related offenses, the prohibition of “critical race theory” in public universities, and legislation related to the LGBTQ community.

Legislators have a limited amount of time to incorporate their ideas into legislation that is still in effect. Many of the bills that passed Saturday focused on LGBTQ issues and race. In many cases, the House has softened or blocked some of the more conservative ideas coming from the upper house. Senator Royce West of Dallas says timing is everything.

In his recent State of the State address, Governor Abbott also mentioned seven emergency issues that legislators can vote on immediately. This includes expanding education options through education savings accounts (ESAs), which would allow parents to use tax money to homeschool their children or send them to private schools. West has been a member of the Senate Education Committee for three decades and while he says he's an advocate for public schools, if such a campus has been failing parents year after year, he says something needs to be done. Senate House Bill 1243 was quickly approved by Hughes in the House of Representatives; it was considered by the Senate State Affairs Committee and is pending a vote. The Senate vote on HB 890 followed the recent failure of other initiatives to promote these proposals in the House of Representatives.

While SB 1029 doesn't outright prohibit this type of care, health groups and LGBTQ advocates say that the financial risks it would generate would likely deter insurance companies from covering such treatments and doctors from offering hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery to trans people of all ages in the state. For example, the Senate is considering a House version of a bill that would reflect Senate Bill 2, which passed this weekend. But two days before this deadline, Senate Republicans breathed new life into the provision by moving it, along with other parental rights proposals, from SB 8 to HB 890, originally a bipartisan bill that garnered no testimony when it was presented to an upper house hearing on May 18. Senate Bill 1601 would have banned libraries from receiving public money the year following any event where drag artists read to children. The provision was drastically modified and limited the scope of the bill with respect to the version passed in the Senate in an effort to obtain sufficient support for its passage. In early May, state representatives substantially modified a bill to focus solely on a more diluted voucher program, which then failed in commission after receiving a veto threat from the governor. A softened version of Senate Bill 147, which was originally intended to prohibit the sale of land to citizens of China and other countries, expired after it had not been put to a vote in the State Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. The Texas Senate has once again introduced legislation that would severely limit classroom classes, teacher guidance, and school programming on sexual orientation and gender identity until 12th grade in Texas schools.