Where school choice, gun rights, more stand in the Texas Legislature
With the 2023 legislative session ending in just under two weeks, let's take a look at some of the issues lawmakers have addressed — and some they haven't.
The big picture: The state is still very much controlled by Republicans, who dictate the Legislature's stance on several big-ticket items.
Here's where some of the biggest issues stand …
School vouchers: Legislators pushing a bill that would use state funds to help some Texans pay for private school or home-schooling will need to address Gov. Greg Abbott's concerns if they want the bill to become law this session.
- Abbott has threatened to call legislators back for special sessions if they don't "expand the scope of school choice" in the latest version of the bill.
Gun law reform: Lawmakers proposed bills that would raise the age to legally purchase some semi-automatic rifles, enhance background checks and expand safe storage requirements.
- Despite polls showing that a majority of Texans support all of those things, none of those bills will pass this session.
Health care for transgender kids: A bill that would ban certain gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender children has passed the House and the Senate and will likely become law.
School safety: Legislation that would direct $1.6 billion toward school safety — and require an armed adult on every campus and an alert button in every classroom — passed the House but hasn't been voted on in the Senate.
Property taxes: A set of bills that would use $16.5 billion to help lower property taxes passed the Senate and seems likely to pass the House.
Gambling: Despite the gambling industry spending millions on lobbying this session, the latest effort to allow casinos in Texas failed. A bill that would allow legal mobile sports betting passed the House, but Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said it won't get a vote in the Senate.
Social media: A bill that would require social media companies to get consent from a parent or guardian before a minor can create an account passed the House but hasn't been voted on in the Senate.
Polling sites: Legislation that would end countywide voting and require Texans to vote at an assigned precinct passed the Senate but hasn't been voted on in the House.
- A bill that would allow election workers to carry guns passed the House but hasn't received a vote in the Senate.
Diversity in hiring: A bill that would require universities to close their diversity, equity and inclusion offices and ban mandatory diversity training passed the Senate and seems likely to pass the House.
Power grid: Two bills aimed at adding more natural gas-fueled power plants to the Texas grid passed the Senate but haven't been voted on in the House.
The bottom line: A lot can still happen in two weeks.
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