Texas House Passes Bill Extending Alternative High School Graduation Route

24 May, 2017, 09:38 | Author: Essie Rivera
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Following a whirlwind weekend in the Texas Legislature that pushed abortion restrictions, religious objections and a so-called "bathroom bill" toward the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, tired Democrats are sounding a familiar warning: We'll see you in court. Some school districts in Texas allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity both through formal policies or on a case by case basis. The measure formally cleared the House Monday, sending the modified bill to the Senate, which should easily support it. Texas' legislative session ends May 29, but that's plenty of time - even if the bathroom bill is scaled-back enough to only affect the state's roughly 5.3 million public school students, and not the general public.

Late Sunday evening, supporters of the bill tacked on the bathroom restrictions through an amendment on a separate and unrelated bill on school emergency operation plans for natural disasters.

The likely challenges include a bill passed early Monday in the Senate that allows publicly funded foster care and adoption agencies to refuse to place children with non-Christian, unmarried or gay prospective parents because of religious objections.

"I share Governor Abbott's concern about the lack of a rollback provision in Senate Bill 669 on property taxes", Patrick said in a statement about a property tax measure the House passed Saturday.

A broader bathroom bill became law in North Carolina a year ago and brought condemnation from business leaders and athletic organizations. As I said last week, it is hard for me to believe any Texas lawmaker would vote against a half billion dollars for public schools, as well as voting against children with disabilities, simply to oppose school choice. "Because that is what this law says he has to do", said Ann Elder as she held up a photo of her transgender son.

The conservative and moderate wings of the Texas GOP have spent months fighting over a proposal to ban people from using public bathrooms that don't correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates.

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In issuing his ultimatum on Wednesday, Patrick said he wanted the House to move on SB 6 or attach the language from Simmons' bill onto other legislation.

"I want to talk to you a little bit about history because I've lived through the separate but equal period", Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, told the floor in a passionate speech against the amendment.

"No amount of discrimination is acceptable", Equality Texas said in a statement on Sunday night. This will get signed into law and is headed to the courts. However, the measure stalled in the House.

According to KXAN, the bill that passed the house removed language from the original version, restricting its applicability to public schools.

"It's absolutely about child safety". It lacked a bar on state-wide anti-discriminatory laws - save for those regarding the use of bathrooms - and included a carve-out for any private entities that rent, say, a stadium or arena, allowing them to enforce whatever regulations and policies regarding restrooms that it prefers.

GOODWYN: The bathroom bill was Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick's priority, and his successful shepherding of the measure stands as proof of his growing power.

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