A reporter from the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News Capitol bureau caught a Texas legislator arguing Tuesday night that sex education gets previously chaste teens so “hot and bothered” that they can’t even use contraception correctly after rushing out the door to do some unauthorized field testing.

Check out the audio clip of the conversation among state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, and state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. The three were speaking just minutes after the House State Affairs Committee approved legislation with extreme abortion restrictions that could cause most of the state’s clinics to close. Rep. Howard was explaining to her colleagues that responsible sex education, including information on birth control, would lower the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. Rep. Toth didn’t agree:

“My wife worked at a home for unwed moms, and one of the little kids that was born, his name is David. David came about as a result of his mom and dad, who were just 16 at the time, going to a Planned Parenthood deal where they taught them how to use contraceptives. They were not sexually active at that point. They got into the car, and they… Read More

Peggy Venable, head of the Texas chapter of the right-wing group Americans for Prosperity, doesn’t seem to understand the concept of religious freedom very well. Here’s what she tweeted about state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, as the Texas House began what is always a long day at the end of a legislative session:

Not all Texans share the same religious beliefs, of course. Nor does religious faith require (nor necessarily benefit) from the favor of government. So we see nothing disappointing about giving legislators the opportunity to pray or reflect individually, in their own ways, on the important day before them. Rep. Howard simply demonstrated real respect for religious freedom for all.

We are also proud to say that Rep. Howard served for a number of years on the Texas Freedom Network’s Board of Directors.… Read More

Too often we see public officials in Texas use faith as a political weapon against their opponents. Just as appalling is that so many of those officials seemingly dismiss the reality that their diverse constituencies include people from many different faith traditions. But some officials do show real respect for faith and the religious freedom and diversity of people across Texas. A good example of the latter came on Tuesday, when state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, offered an invocation at the beginning of the Texas Legislature’s special session. Rep. Howard is a former member of the Texas Freedom Network’s Board of Directors. We couldn’t be more proud of her.

Our friends at Texas Impact posted the video below.… Read More

It appears that Texas lawmakers are beginning to look at ways to rein in an out-of-control State Board of Education. Today state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, pre-filed a bill for the coming legislative session that would make state board elections nonpartisan.

Recent controversies make clear the need to take ideology and partisanship out of races for the state board, Rep. Howard said in a press release announcing her proposed legislation, House Bill 420:

The current system is obviously not working as well as our students, parents, teachers, and taxpayers deserve. SBOE districts are some of the geographically largest districts in the state, yet these races attract little public attention and candidates have a hard time raising money to communicate their message.  Voters go to the polls armed with minimal information on the issues and end up casting their ballot based on party affiliation.  It’s time to encourage candidates to run more independently so voters can make informed decisions.

Rep. Howard, who won election to the House in 2006 in part because of her strong support for public education, pointed to extreme partisan and ideological statements made recently by state board member Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond. As TFN Insider readers… Read More

Texas Rising

Y'all, the mothership @TFN is hiring an Outreach and Advocacy Manager. This job is incredible opportunity. Join us! bit.ly/2M0OfJm