The 85th Texas legislative session took place in January 2017, and many lawmakers participated in the session. It is during this legislative session that different bills that had an impact on peoples lives were discussed and upon the discussions, critical decisions arrived. (Williamson 15). For example, the minimum wage for employees, laws for tighter gun control and child rights against abuse were some of the points for discussions that were presented in the legislative session in January 2017.
Pending Texas Legislation
Abortion-related bill is one of the major bills that are yet to be enacted and has been an issue for discussion for several years in Texas. For example, the state legislators are working on a bill that will restrict women from the right to procure an abortion (Stephen et al. 121). Bills which have been filed to illegalize abortion include bills that do not permit abortion 20 weeks after fertilization as during this time (Stephen et al. 121). The fetus is subject to pain. This bill is put across to prevent careless disposal of fetal remains in waste bins that are both inhumane and unhygienic. Additionally, Bob Hall filed a bill that would not allow abortions at all cost unless it is signed by the federal legislation. However, the law has not yet been acted on at the moment, since Roe is still in charge of the law in Texas.
The other bills that have been proposed entail legalizing of electronic voter registration. Currently, Texas, as well as other areas, has no access to electronic voter machines. The lack of the electronic voter machines has caused inconvenience in the voting process. However, once the bill is enacted, it will not only increase efficiency but also help to improve the voting process both for the ex-convicts and high school students.
There is also a proposal for Texas Central plans to construct a train line that will run between Dallas and Houston. If enacted into law, there will be reliability, comfort and a safe way for passengers to be transported to their destinations. However, the bill has caused some friction between some political officials and local landowners because they have the conflict of interests. The state individuals in power have tried to stop the bill from further advancement. The Bill has not yet been passed, and the lawmakers are putting forward strategies to prevent the construction of the 240 rail line.
Following massive shootouts that caused many people to die in a club in Orlando, Hilary Clinton in her campaigns promised to enforce stricter gun laws. Some advocates have also filed a bill that would improve background monitoring of guns use. The bill focuses on passing laws that would restrict free use of weapons especially firearms o without a permit
Texas laws serve to ensure that laws on equality are maintained. Some of the bills are passed, and others declined after every session based on the votes both by the Senate and the House (Stephen et al. 121).
The private school choice bill is one of the bills that were approved during 2017 legislative session. The bill was based on subsidizing the school fees for private schools and facilitating smooth learning for children with disability. The question was whether the private schools would be held up to the state standards. However, the bill passed with n 18-13 vote from the Senate.
Based on the issue of the rights of LGBT a bill that requires transgender people to use the bathroom based on their original sex identity was passed. This bill is discriminatory and does not seem to protect the rights of the LGBT group. Additionally, it may lead to rape cases.
A bill that promoted the rights of the homosexual people was passed even though its statutory reference is not constitutional. The bill was however passed because a significant number of people had been discriminated and had been denied to choose their partners.
Bernal HB 192 bills against discrimination in business organization and industrial companies were passed (Stephen et al. 121). Discrimination in an organization leads decreased production in the company as individual with skills by discriminating and not given the opportunity to work. This bill was as it would help to raise the economy of the United States.
The bill that would Promote HIV/AIDS preventive programs as a measure of public health by Howard was supported (Burrows and Alan 45). The increase in the widespread of HIV infections all over the world necessitated the formation of the programs that would create awareness among all people on the use of protections and the significance of knowing their HIV status. The passing of the bill would greatly impact the health of the people of Texas.
A draft law on the provision of appropriate education according to human sexuality and age in public schools by Farrar was passed to give people knowledge on their gender and promote their sense of appreciating their nature. The law would also eradicate stigma on individuals.
The bill that would stop deduction of most union payrolls was passed. The bill would affect most of the employees of the state in that teachers and the officers working in the correctional facilities would pay their dues while police officer would be exempted to payroll deductions. The bill seemed to promote discrimination but was however passed.
Many of the proposed bills in Texas have failed to be passed into laws due to lack of resources as well as a lack of support from the lawmakers. For this reason, many of the bills do not go beyond the committee actions but the bills that go beyond this stage are amended by the committee. Only when a bill has received the majority of the votes both from the Senate and the full House will it be eligible to become law.
King, Phil had filed a bill which focused on the removal of policies that discriminated students in various institutions. The bill specifically focused on discrimination of students based on their faith and religious identity in higher education (Burrows and Alan 45).
Shaheen bill that sought to promote the rights of the transgender people was opposed. The bill would have forced the transgender people in public schools to use bathrooms and restrooms based on the sex identity in their sex gender. This act would promote discrimination of the entire group of the (LGBT) lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender.
A bill filed by Schaefer which provided an ability of not offering to provide services to any individual who causes conflict to the services rendered with an excuse of religious beliefs which he/her holds sincerely (Burrows and Alan 45). It applied to foster and adoption of the child, housing, marriage, ceremonies, employment, grooming, licensing and even access to bathrooms. This act did do not pass because it was against individual Christian beliefs.
Schaefer filed a bill which was against local authorities' provision of protection, on non-discrimination unless directed by the state laws. This bill was rejected because discrimination is a national disaster and must be eradicated at all cost. Hall proposal was also not passed into law (Burrows and Alan 45). He had stated a bill that gave the state of Texas a right to refuse to enforce laws which would violate the constitution. This bill was seen to weaken state laws
Major players in 2017 Texas legislative session
The key players in the legislative session of 2017 were Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Joe Straus, and Lieutenant, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant. These people are all Republicans (Burrows and Alan 45) who did an excellent job in determining the bills which would become laws and also the one that did meet the prerequisites. The session majorly depended on their decision to work together or to oppose each other. Their opinions were of high relevance throughout the session.
The Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, is a radio personality who played a great role during the 2017 Texas legislation session. He is a politician who through support from other Republicans throughout the session was able to pass his agenda. In the list of priority of his bills, what topped was the bathroom bill (Beyer and Gerry 5). This bill would protect women against sexual violation. According to his bill, transgender females would not be allowed to use female restrooms. Dan Patrick is firmly opposed to abortion at all costs even when the pregnancy is as a result of rape or incest. The only point that he agrees to abortion is when the life of the mother is at risk: this is though a rare case. Additionally, Dan Patricks stand on the issue of illegal immigration is firm as during his 2015 budget; he spent $815 million dollars for safeguarding the border.
The speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus has a reserved personality compared to Dan Patrick. However political analysts, say that his low tone has a high effect on the bills enacted. Straus attends forums with his chamber, 150 members who elected him as their speaker. Straus has continuously opposed President Donald Trump temporary travel ban that is in some Muslim nations. Unlike Lt. Governor Patrick, Straus has no significant concern on the issue of transgender and bathroom use as it only creates tension in the House. Rather Straus emphasis on the need to develop the economy of the United States
Greg Abbott, the 48th Governor of Texas, holds high the need to create more jobs and improving the education sector. The governor has been elected to be part of the committee in the Republican Governors Associations 2017. Also, Abbott is supporting state convention for amending United States Constitution to lower federal power. On bills filed on transgender bathrooms, he is silent and is waiting for the next move. There is the political analyst who has suggests that he will not participate in the agenda, as he did in the year 2015 legislative session.
As discussed above there are several bills relating to equity among the people of the United States that are yet to be passed. There is still a lot of that that needs to be done to ensure the safety of all the people. A lot of effort should be put forward only to enact the bills that do not promote discrimination on any ground either sex or religion.
Beyer, Gerry W. "2015 Texas Estate Planning Legislative Update". SSRN Electronic Journal, Elsevier BV, doi:10.2139/ssrn.2638914.
Burrows, Alan. "Texas Legislative Update." Journal Of State Taxation 33, no. 4 (Fall2015 2015): 49-51. Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed March 27, 2017).
Meserve, Stephen et al. "Multiple Principals and Legislative Cohesion". Legislative Studies Quarterly, 2017, Wiley-Blackwell, doi:10.1111/lsq.12165.
Williamson, r 2017, 'in Texas, budget cuts ahead. (cover story)', bond buyer, 1, 34648, pp. 1-16, business source complete, ebscohost, viewed 27 march 2017.
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