(R) Speaker Straus was one of the STRONGEST OPPONENTS of SB 6 “The Bathroom Bill” during the 85th legislative session that just ended on Memorial Day in May. He constantly said to the media that the “Bathroom Bill” was a solution looking for a problem, a manufactured issue. And, he is right. There is not a problem with transgender people in Texas using the restroom that matches their gender identity.
Yesterday, June 14th, Straus met with Texas educators in San Antonio for the Texas Association of School Boards’ annual summer leadership institute in San Antonio. He urged educators attending the conference to keep speaking out for the issues important to public schools and to take action.
Gov. Abbott has set an agenda of 20 bills he wants passed in the upcoming 30 day session. The one demand that he made was that the Texas Sunset Bill/Commission and the Texas Property Tax bills be dealt with first. Abbott’s two priority pieces of legislation. He also said that the “Bathroom Bill” be put at the end of the laundry list of bills so hopefully it will die before reaching a hearing during the session.
Straus went on to say “”I don’t know what all the issues are with bathrooms in our schools, but I’m pretty sure you can handle them, and I know that you have been handling them”. He said the “bathroom bill” sends the wrong message about Texas, instead of “making decisions that attract jobs, that attract families.”
Gov. Abbott is trying to force his agenda of “vouchers” onto school district in Texas while cutting their funding by $1 billion dollars. He also wants a bill passed that will give teachers a $1,000 raise while trying to pass another law that would limit cities/counties raising property taxes above 5%. So now Abbott not only wants to control local taxes that pay for independent school districts but also want’s to decide on the amount of the raise given teachers and who should receive them. Public education advocates worry this means schools will be required to do more with less funding. The governor said in his special session announcement that the increase in teacher pay could be done by “reprioritizing” spending, without additional funding. He went on to say principals and superintendents need flexibility “to retain and to reward the very best teachers and to replace those who are ineffective.” In doing this Gov. Abbott would be forcing districts to reward some teachers but also fire others to meet their budget.
Now is the time to take action! We must speak out and make our voices heard not only on “Bathroom Bills” that would cause a very negative result on LGBTQ students but also on cutting funding to Texas Public Education. Please call your state senators and representatives every day now and during the upcoming special session which begins on July 18th. Here is the link to find your representatives if you do not know who they are or their phone numbers. You can find your Texas state senators and congressman by clicking on “Who Represents Me?”