With the time for pre-filing bills for the Texas Legislature’s 2017 session now open, the anti-LGBT bills are piling up quickly. Because in Texas, as in Indiana and North Carolina, we have nothing more to fear than a transgender person’s pee.
For example, Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood, filed a bill that would override city ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and other factors not recognized by state law. Edgewood is 60 miles east of Dallas, smack dab in the middle of Louie Gohmert’s congressional district.
But Rep. Eric Johnson countered with HB 225, which would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression and HB 290 that would prohibit pay discrimination based on gender.
Another issue that will be debated in both houses of the legislature is local control. You know how Republicans are always screaming about local control? Well, they’re not so happy with local control in Dallas or Austin.
Sen. Don. Huffines, whose district includes parts of Oak Lawn, but lives in Plano and refuses to listen to anything anyone in Dallas wants, filed a bill to eliminate all local regulations on taxis, limousines and ride-hailing companies.
On the other hand, Johnson filed HB291 that would allow Dallas to opt out of open carry.
Concerned with police shootings nationally, Johnson passed a bill in the last legislature that required reporting of police shootings. Yesterday, he filed a bill to grant funds so that law enforcement agencies could comply and another that would create an enforcement mechanism so police forces would comply.
Here’s another bill that will be of interest. Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, filed a bill — HB 81 — that will take possession of one ounce of marijuana out of criminal jurisdiction and turn it into a civil penalty, eliminating arrest, jail time and criminal record. This is the first time this bill has been introduced, so it will be interesting to see if it gets a hearing, no less gets out of committee.