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Local News

Week in review as the 87th Texas Legislative Session days away from ending

todayMay 22, 2021

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The 87th Texas Legislative Session is scheduled to end May 31, and numerous bills are being pushed by state lawmakers before the final gavel is heard.

The Texas Senate passed a bill early Saturday morning that would ban schools from requiring teachers to discuss polarizing current events or social issues in class. It now heads to the governor’s desk. House Bill 3979 would also require teachers who choose to discuss those issues with students to include viewpoints “from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.”

A plan to enact a statewide public camping ban in response to those experiencing homelessness was given final approval by the Texas Senate on Thursday. The Senate made some changes to House Bill 1925, which passed in the lower chamber earlier this month, including blocking local governments from using parks as temporary shelters. The legislation will head back to the House to consider the changes.

As some statewide school districts begin making a hard push to continue offering a virtual option for students next year, the Senate Committee on Education is discussing HB 1468, which would allow public and charter schools to continue into the fall semester. If passed, students would have to be regularly assessed to make sure they are on track.

Negotiators in the Texas House and Senate announced on Thursday they had reached an agreement on legislation that removes the state’s licensing requirement to carry firearms for people 21 years and older. HB 1927, known commonly as the permitless carry bill, was passed by both the House and Senate, but changes made in the upper chamber required a conference committee of lawmakers to work out the differences.

Members of the full House and Senate will have to approve the agreement before it’s ready to be signed into law by the governor. Language of the agreement was not made public on Thursday.

The Texas Legislature gave final approval to a proposal that would join the state with 30 others in making it easier for physicians to practice medicine outside Texas after passing HB 1616 Thursday. If signed into law by the governor, it creates an expedited pathway for physicians to obtain licenses in other states through the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact.

Governor Abbott told lawmakers Thursday that he will be placing the allocation of nearly $16 billion in federal funds for COVID-19 recovery up for discussion in a scheduled special session for this fall. House members were notified of this latest development late Thursday night.


Written by: Michelle Layton

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