Day: <span>March 7, 2017</span>

House leadership tries to help students and educators; Senate leaders play politics


It has been obvious since before this legislative session began that more than the Capitol rotunda separates the Senate from the House. There is, in fact, a deep gulf between the leadership priorities of the two lawmaking chambers.

In the House, Speaker Joe Straus has made it clear from the outset that he is interested in governing. Remember that concept? That’s where people who are elected to public office actually try to accomplish something that benefits a majority of the public. In the case of public education, Straus has made a priority of beginning work on improving the school finance system to give educators and students more resources and relieve the load on local school property taxpayers. The House Public Education Committee, which Straus appointed, is already at work toward that goal, including a public hearing on proposed legislation today.

In the Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick doesn’t govern. He campaigns to promote his right-wing political career. That ploy is reaching another low today with a made-for-TV committee hearing on his infamous “bathroom bill,” a measure that will do absolutely nothing to help anyone. In fact, it will do just the opposite. It will promote discrimination against transgender Texans, including young children in public schools, and interfere with local school officials’ ability to protect these kids’ privacy.

Please take a few minutes to read the blog item in Texas Monthly, linked below, by my friend and former longtime colleague R.G. Ratcliffe. As he points out, the contrast between the House and the Senate “may never be more evident this session” than today.