Yes, summer’s gone as the Beach Boys’ mournful ode to the waning days of hot summer days reminds us (not yet in South Texas!) and so is the summer special season at the state capitol. “Sine die” adjournment was abruptly called by the Texas House leadership a day early last Tuesday, August 15th.
By prematurely adjourning the Texas House without warning before the scheduled time and arrogantly ignoring the objections from the floor, denying members the right to vote on the early adjournment, Straus ensured the demise of the Governor’s priority legislation such as property tax reform, paycheck protection, privacy protection, spending limits, and more.
The Governor and Lt. Governor were quick to point out the day after the legislators quit working and started packing up to go home that the business of the Legislature was not over. In an interview Wednesday, the Governor voiced his frustration with the House:
“I’m disappointed that all 20 items that I put on the agenda did not receive the up-or-down vote that I wanted but more importantly that the constituents of these members deserved. They had plenty of time to consider all of these items, and the voters of the state of Texas deserved to know where their legislators stood on these issues.”
The Governor stated in answer to a question during the press interview that “[t]here is a deep divide between the House and Senate on these important issues. So I’m going to be making decisions later on about whether we call another special session, but in the meantime, what we must do is we need to all work to get more support for these priorities and to eliminate or try to dissolve the difference between the House and the Senate on these issues so we can get at a minimum an up-or-down vote on these issues or to pass it.”
The Governor said the House under the leadership of Speaker Straus started the special session by “dilly-dallying” while the Senate moved swiftly to pass most of Abbott’s priorities. The House leadership, he commented, focused on other issues and he placed the blame on Straus for not finishing the business the Governor set out for the legislature to accomplish in the special session.
It appears Joe Straus and his allies in the House were simply responding to what Straus expressed in a public forum in June comparing the Governor’s priorities to “a pile of manure”. The Texas Privacy Act was killed, strangled in the State Affairs committee by Chairman and Straus crony, Byron Cook, after it was brought back to life from the same fate in the general session.
Straus said in an interview with the New Yorker in July that he was “disgusted by all this” and he wanted the Lt Governor to know that “I don’t want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands”. Has anyone asked Straus if he is disgusted that some officials in the state of Texas have worked hard to protect the safety and privacy of women and children in bathrooms and locker rooms or, rather, is he upset with the possibility of malevolent and depraved characters emboldened by a liberal transgender policy preying on our mothers, sisters, and daughters in public facilities? It appears he’s offended by the former.
Do you believe this politician when he says suicide will be the result of the passage of the Texas Privacy Act or, instead, medical professionals like Dr. Michelle Cretella, M.D., President of the American College of Pediatricians, whose studies show that fostering an enabling culture that provides services to persons suffering from gender dysphoria, affirming their “transition” by offering treatments including sterilizing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital mutilation actually results in “a suicide rate nearly 20 times greater than that of the general population”. (Read further – Transgender Ideology and Large-Scale Child Abuse)
Who are we to believe – a politician whose views are aligned with homosexual advocacy organizations or a medical doctor who has deeply studied and reported her findings on the causes and pathology of gender confusion and Walter Heyer who returned to a fulfilling life after sex reassignment surgery, witnessing to the terrible consequences of denying who you really are as ordained by your Creator, your biological sex defined at birth:
“Changing genders is short-term gain with long-term pain. Its consequences include early mortality, regret, mental illness, and suicide. Instead of encouraging them to undergo unnecessary and destructive surgery, let’s affirm and love our young people just the way they are.”
(I Was a Transgender Woman)
How about the grassroots Republicans all over Texas who overwhelmingly supported the Texas Privacy law to protect women and children in bathrooms? According to a Texas Values survey of Republican voters, 79% supported the Privacy Act. In surveys of Republican Party grassroots leaders – precinct chairpersons in Bexar County (Straus’s district), Texas county chairpersons, state executive committee members, between 76% (Bexar County) and 89% (State Republican Executive Committee) of Republican leaders expressed their support for the Texas Privacy Act. So who is out of step with the values of Republicans in Texas?
Vision America Action sent out an email to Texas Pastors in the aftermath of the House leadership’s cowardly refusal to allow a floor vote:
“Although the bill had 60 co-sponsors, the support of the Texas Senate, and 70% of Texas voters were in support of privacy legislation, this bill continued to be quashed by House Speaker Joe Straus and those loyal to him. They aligned themselves with the powerful LGBT lobbying groups, and by doing so, they disconnected themselves from the heart of Texans. We are disappointed that they remained unmovable throughout the regular and special sessions. We will do all we can to educate voters in the districts of each House member who refused to support The Privacy Act, letting them know of their representatives’ disregard of the values and voices of the people they represent.”
An important pro-life bill on the conscience of Speaker Straus and State Affairs Committee Chair Byron Cook was House Bill 14, which would have prevented public funding of abortion by municipalities. The bill had 80 sponsors. (Plank 91 of the Republican Party of Texas platform) It died in the State Affairs Committee. This bill would have helped insure public funding of Planned Parenthood and other baby killing organizations would end. Why would Speaker Straus and Chairman Bryon Cook want to protect this blood money?
Did the Governor and all Texans in general benefit from the legislative special session? Yes, thanks to Gov. Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and the members of the Senate who quickly accomplished their mission in support of the Governor’s priorities within the first two weeks of the session. Despite the dysfunctional House leadership and their willful obstruction of laudatory bills in the House of Representatives, a special thanks goes out to hard working representatives especially the feisty and resilient members of the House of Representatives’ Texas Freedom Caucus.
We also should be grateful to intrepid advocacy organizations like Texas Right to Life, Empower Texans, Conservative Republicans of Texas, Texas Eagle Forum, Grassroots America, Concerned Women for America, Texas Values, the Texas Home School Association, Texas Pastor Council, Vision America, and others who worked very hard to advance our traditional (conservative) Judeo-Christian moral principles representing our Christian views at the state legislature. An especially insightful commentary was just published by Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life. Please read Thank You, Mister Speaker . We can thank Elizabeth and her team at TRTL for their hard fought work to pass major pro-life legislation which will save many preborn lives.
Governor Abbott signed the following bills during the legislative special session.
Read the Press Releases:
House Bill 21 (HB 21) establishes a school finance commission as well as provides immediate funding for public education, historic funding for charter school facilities, and new programs for students with special needs.
Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) strengthens patient protections and rights related to Do-Not Resuscitate Orders.
House Bill 215 (HB 215) strengthens abortion reporting requirements, specifically relating to minors.
House Bill 214 (HB 214) limits insurance coverage for abortion procedures.
Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) extends the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force.
Senate Bill 6 (SB 6) reforms and restricts the municipal annexation process.
House Bill 13 (HB 13) expands reporting requirements for complications resulting from abortion procedures.
Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) increases penalties for mail-in ballot fraud in Texas.
Senate Bill 20 (SB 20) and Senate Bill 60 (SB 60) extends the expiration dates for the Texas Boards of Medical Examiners, Examiners of Psychologists, Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, Examiners of Professional Counselors and Social Worker Examiners, and allow these agencies to continue their regular operations and remain fully functional.