Today the Texas Senate mugged the state’s public schools and their millions of students by providing preliminary approval to a reckless private school voucher bill. But the debate revealed some dirty truths that voucher supporters would prefer folks not know about the bill.

Senators gave approval to Senate Bill 4 on second reading. SB 4 would give tax credits to wealthy interests that provide vouchers subsidizing tuition at private and religious schools. Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller released the following statement:

“Neighborhood public schools and the millions of Texas kids who attend them just got mugged on the floor of the Texas Senate. The Senate should have fully restored the billions of dollars this Legislature cut from our neighborhood schools just four years ago. But instead they gave preliminary approval to a reckless and unaccountable voucher scheme that provides tax breaks for wealthy interests that take funds from public education in order to subsidize private and religious schools. The Texas Legislature is charged with providing a quality education for every child in our state. It seems today our senators forgot their obligation.”

The Senate vote was 17-13 in favor of SB 4. Final passage requires a third reading, which will probably follow in the… Read More

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are as evil as Nazis? That sure seems to be the message in an email on Thursday from two Texas-based, religious-right groups, Dave Welch’s Texas Pastor Council and Rick Scarborough’s Vision America.

The email insists that “Christians must rally to defend Biblical marriage in Texas.” It then calls on readers to contact lawmakers in support of legislation that “defunds homosexual marriage” in Texas:

HB 4105 is a simple, two-page bill that affirms our existing law and also defunds homosexual marriage. This law will enable our Attorney General Ken Paxton to safeguard Texas against the potential upcoming judicial supremacy by the U.S. Supreme Court. The passage of HB 4105 now will enable Texas to defend against the imminent out-of-state pressure to impose homosexual marriage on Texas beginning the last week in June.

House Bill 4105 by state Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia, would do no such thing. While the bill would attempt to prohibit the use of state or local funds to license or support the marriage of gay and lesbian couples, it wouldn’t trump a Supreme Court ruling. The U.S. Constitution demands that Texas abide by such a ruling, just as the state had to abide by rulings striking down racial segregation in schools in… Read More

State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, is serving in his sixth session of the Texas Legislature and had never made a personal privilege speech. Until yesterday.

Anchia went on the House floor to speak about a bill he’s filed in several sessions. It’s a reasonable bill that simply removes the requirement that supplemental birth certificates for adopted children must list a man and a woman as parents. But the parents of some adopted children are same-sex couples. So this small change would, for example, allow such adopted children to face one less headache when acquiring a passport or to obtain benefits if a parent dies. Rep. Anchia makes this point very clearly in the video clip below.

The bill is pro-family legislation that is opposed by the purportedly pro-family group Texas Values, which Anchia called out (though not by name) for spreading lies about the bill.

The bill is languishing in committee, prompting Anchia’s speech. Note at the end of the video clip that state Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chair of the committee considering Anchia’s bill, reaffirms his support of the legislation.

Watch the speech:

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Click below for contact information of committee members.

Wednesday, April 15 House Juvenile Justice & Family Issues

On Wednesday, a state House committee will take up HB 3864, by state Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney. Like the recent Indiana law that caused such backlash, this bill would authorize state-sanctioned discrimination purportedly to protect religious freedom.

The primary consideration for a child welfare agency or organization should always be the best interests of the child — not advancing a sectarian belief or political agenda. This bill gets that backward.

Call the members of the Texas House Committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues and tell them to oppose HB 3864 because:… Read More

Click below for contact information of committee members.

Wednesday, April 15 House State Affairs Committee

On Wednesday, we will see yet another legislative hearing on a bill attacking LGBT Texans. This bill takes aim on a particularly vulnerable population — transgender teens.

HB 2801 by state Rep. Gilbert Peña, R-Pasadena, would subject any school district to a fine of $2,000 if it allows a transgender person to use a restroom, locker room or shower facility appropriate to his or her gender identity.

Here is a helpful story from The Advocate about how wrongheaded — and dangerous — this proposal is.

Call the members of the House State Affairs committee and tell them you oppose HB 2801. Tell them that: Read More