I was just thinking this morning how things have been quiet on the LGBT front in the Texas Legislature this week. And wouldn’t you know it, here comes an e-mail alert from my online bill-tracker saying another pro-equality measure has been reported favorably out of a House committee. House Bill 1323, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Mark Strama of Austin, would require school districts to report incidents of bullying and harrassment based on sexual orientation/gender identity and other factors. The bill, which theoretically would pave the way for a future ban on anti-gay bullying in schools, cleared the House Committee on Public Education this morning after a hearing last week. It now proceeds to the House Calendars Committee, which must decide whether to schedule it for introduction on the House floor. Another pro-equality bill, seeking a study of the state’s hate crime act, also remains in the House Calendars Committee. These two bills are viewed as having the best chances of passing among pro-equality measures introduced in this year’s session. For more, go to www.equalitytexas.org or www.legis.state.tx.us.
UPDATE: Equality Texas is also expecting a committee hearing this afternoon on a bill that would add gender identity/expression to the hate crimes act. House Bill 2966 is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Garnet Coleman of Houston. Equality Texas Deputy Director Chuck Smith reports that the group will be live-blogging from the committee hearing, which is scheduled to take place once the full House adjourns. You can also watch the hearing on the Legislature’s Web site.