By Emily Cook
The 85th Session of the Texas Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, January 10th. Following the swearing in of members, business begins. Here’s a look at some of the very first leading issues important to conservative Republicans across Texas:
- No race for Speaker of the House. No challenger to Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has emerged, and rumors abound none will be forthcoming. Long the focus of frustration for conservative advocacy organizations, the reelection of Speaker Straus, and thus the reinstatement of his entire leadership team, present a dim outlook for business-as-usual in the lower chamber. There is likely to be a “loyalty” vote, meaning even though only one man is in the race, members will be required to vote yes, no, or “present not voting” on Speaker Straus’ reelection. Requiring a public vote for Texas House leadership is excellent precedent to continue setting, fostering transparency in whom our elected leaders choose to lead them.
- The Texas Privacy Act. A top priority of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Conservative Republicans of Texas is Senate Bill 6, the Texas Privacy Act, filed by State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). Senate Bill 6 focuses on protecting women and girls from sexual predators by prohibiting governmental entities from allowing biological males into women’s restrooms on government property. While a priority for the Senate, House Speaker Joe Straus has downplayed the bill’s importance this session, proving once again the lower chamber will likely serve as a pain in the side of conservatives.
- Protecting Life. With an overwhelming majority of Pro-Life legislators in both chambers, protecting innocent human life should make early headway. While many bills are expected to be filed related to Life, priority Pro-Life legislation is policy operating to stop abortions before babies are horrifically killed. Legislation addressing what happens to the bodies of abortion victims, while important in establishing the dignity of unborn children, cannot be the only Pro-Life legislation passed this session. Texas must make headway on further reducing the number of abortions committed in Texas, while simultaneously chipping away at the foundation of Roe v Wade. Such principles are embedded in the Dismemberment Abortion Ban – SB 415 by State Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and HB 844 by State Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth). Texas lies judicially within the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, a court historically disposed to recognize the dignity and humanity of unborn children, giving Texas the opportunity to lead and shape Pro-Life laws across the nation. Texas legislators must use their large majority this session to enact laws reducing the numbers of abortion in Texas.
The 85th Session is shaping up to be an even bigger tug-of-war between the two chambers. Check back regularly for updates on the progress, or stalling, of conservative legislation for the next 140 days.
Via Texas Right to Life PAC www.texasrighttolifepac.com
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