In the past few days, the Texas House passed several bills that Texans have waited several months for the Legislature to pass during two consecutive special sessions. These come after an already full week of policy victories by House Republicans, including the passage of the critical election integrity and property tax relief bills, as well as a day filled with the consideration and eventual passage of bail reform, border security funding, and more.
On Tuesday, the House passed Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) regulating the use of abortion-inducing drugs. This bill protects the health and safety of women seeking an abortion by ensuring the drugs used to induce an abortion are administered by a physician. The bill also requires enhanced reporting related to adverse side effects, like heart attack, stroke, and others, that might arise from the use of these drugs. This legislation will reduce the incidence of these adverse side effects and improve health outcomes for women statewide.
Furthermore, the House passed supplemental appropriations in House Bill 5 by Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood). This supplemental budget includes critical funding for many state agencies, including the legislature itself. The bill appropriates $90 million for the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to increase the number of providers in the foster care system and ensure that children do not have to sleep in unsanctioned locations, including DFPS offices or hotels. The bill also provides over $700 million for a 13th check for Texas’ retired teachers, $100 million in property tax relief, and $17 million in cybersecurity enhancements.
Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), preserves core civic values in social studies education statewide. The bill accomplishes this in several ways. SB 3 highlights the importance of participation in democracy by requiring classroom simulations and models of government processes, discussions of current events, and education on media literacy. The bill emphasizes the foundations of American government, its structure and function, and the founding documents of the United States. Taken together, this bill ensures that Texas’ children receive a solid grounding in American history that gives them the ability to engage in the public marketplace of ideas in the future.
Senate Bill 9 takes positive steps towards the prevention of child abuse, family violence, and dating violence by allowing schools to provide carefully tailored instruction in these areas. This bill also allows parents to purchase class materials for use at home and solicits parental input by providing parents with a detailed description of those materials that will be used in the classroom. The bill provides that school boards must come up with clear and transparent procedures for choosing materials that will be used in class to teach children about these issues. SB 9 is an important step in reducing child abuse, family violence, and dating violence while ensuring that parents remain continuously involved in their child’s education on these sensitive issues.
Texas House Republicans have waited a long time to do the work that Texans have asked and that patience has finally paid off. As the House enters the final days of the second special session, Republicans will continue to work diligently to keep delivering legislation that Texans have long awaited.