Texas Senate attaches voucher plan to school finance fix

Lauren Perry
May 31, 2017

Some lawmakers initially anxious that "bathroom bill" legislation would draw boycotts similar to the ones that have cost North Carolina billions, but they're more comfortable with an amendment strictly focused on schools. Dan Patrick's threat to insist the governor call a special session of the Legislature unless lawmakers passed such a bill - which he has pushed for all session long, citing privacy concerns - as well as property tax legislation (The House on Saturday advanced a less aggressive tax proposal than the Senate had in mind). On Monday, the House voted 94-51 to approve Senate Bill 2078, legislation regarding emergency disaster plans for schools, with the bathroom amendment attached.

"I am obviously very excited about it passing the Senate, and I fully expect ... that Governor Abbott will sign it and it will be law", Frank said, "and we'll have, I hope, more people serving and free to serve children in the state of Texas".

This is unlike a previous bill in the Texas legislature, which was similar to the North Carolina "bathroom" bill and required people to use the restroom matching their biological gender at all publicly owned facilities.

The Texas House voted 93-49 on May 10 to pass its version of the bill.

Durso, Center for American Progress Vice President of the LGBT Research & Communications Project stated, "Politicians in Texas are sinking to new lows after forcing through two bills amounting state-mandated discrimination against Texas students & families".

A Senate committee passed the House's major school finance reform bill, after adding a controversial provision subsidizing private school tuition for special needs students - a move unlikely to go over well in the House.

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"I believe this bill takes us back to 1954", said State Rep. Joe Moody. "That could be because you're transgender, that could be because you're shy", Paddie said. All state agencies must undergo periodic "sunset" reviews, but they're often added to the safety net bill if lawmakers fail to reauthorize them in time. In other words, transgender kids must use be separated from everyone else, which Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) said echoed Jim Crow-era segregation.

LGBTQ advocates have argued that the restrictions placed on transgender students could potentially result in teachers or administrators involuntarily "outing" the children to their classmates when they require those students to use facilities that don't match their outward gender presentation.

Taylor said only about 6,000 students maximum would likely qualify to start.

The Texas attorney general could sue any district that doesn't comply.

"Transgender children aren't bargaining chips for lawmakers to trade, and their safety and dignity are non-negotiable", Robertson said in a statement.

"This bill doesn't prohibit particular groups from adopting", said Republican bill sponsor Sen. Texas was unable to implement the 2011 voter ID law due to pre-clearance until 2013, when the Supreme Court gutted the VRA formula that put Texas and other states with a history of racially discriminatory voting practices under the pre-clearance regime.

Other reports by VgToday

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