Culture Wars Took a Back Seat to Solving Real Problems in 2013 Legislative Session
Extremism, Ideological Purity Undermine Influence of Far-Right Legislators
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2013
Today Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller had the following comments on the end of the legislative session:
“Going into this legislative session, culture warriors insisted that they would focus on divisive issues like passing private school vouchers, undermining sex education and continuing their attacks on women’s access to birth control,” Miller said. “But an increasing number of lawmakers in both parties demonstrated that they are losing patience with those who want to turn legislating into tests of ideological purity rather than solve real problems. The real concerns of the vast majority of Texans are good schools and a strong economy. Promoting the culture wars provides no solutions to those concerns.”
Miller noted some important victories for Texas families in the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature:
– Lawmakers restored funding for primary health care and family planning for low-income women, and legislation that would have undermined responsible sex education in public schools across Texas failed to pass.
– No private school voucher bills made it to the floor of either chamber, and the Texas House voted overwhelmingly to bar any public funding for private school vouchers.
– Legislation that would have undermined religious freedom for Texans of all faiths failed to pass. That included an ill-considered constitutional amendment undercutting important protections in the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
– Legislation that would have forced colleges and universities to give official approval and even funding to student organizations that discriminate failed to pass.
– A bill essentially requiring institutions of higher education to treat creationism as legitimate scientific research was never even considered in committee.
Sadly, Senator Dan Patrick, R-Houston, succeeded in bullying the state’s Education Service Centers into eliminating a key component of the CSCOPE program that more than 850 small and mid-size school districts relied on to teach the state’s unwieldy and cumbersome curriculum standards, Miller said.
“It’s shameful that Sen. Patrick and a handful of other lawmakers legitimized a witch hunt that unfairly and absurdly demonized Texas teachers as somehow helping to indoctrinate students into Marxism and Islam,” she said. “Hundreds of school districts were counting on the curriculum assistance and lesson plans provided by CSCOPE next school year. So the results of this witch hunt could be increased costs to taxpayers and lining the pockets of education profiteers.”
The Texas Freedom Network is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization of religious and community leaders who support religious freedom, individual liberties and public education.