Shine: Legislative victories you may have missed
There was a lot of important legislation that was passed into law during the 2021 session of the Texas Legislature. Some of these were important issues affecting communities of all sizes. Others are measures to protect from the erosion of our rights and quality of life in Texas. Here's a recap of some of the important bills you may have missed:
Defund Cities that Defund Police - We are seeing around the country, including Austin, a movement to defund police. House Bill 1900 allows the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor's Office to place restrictions on municipalities powers until reversed.
Energy Grid Reform & Protection - Senate Bill 3, along with various House Bills were passed to winterize, and deal with Winter Storm Uri. We'll be giving a more detailed update on the final versions of this legislation package.
Freedom To Worship Act - House Bill 1239, known as the 'Freedom To Worship Act' will prohibit any laws that suspend closure of places to worship under any circumstance.
Punishment for Protestors Blocking Emergency Vehicles - House Bill 9 makes it a state jail felony to block an emergency vehicle while protesting.
Critical Race Theory - House Bill 3979, the 'Critical Race Theory' bill, bans teachers in a Public School district or open-enrollment charter school from engaging and teaching any form of race or sex stereotyping or blame on the basis of race or sex.
STAAR Reform - House Bill 764 eliminates all non-federally mandated STAAR tests and takes away the high stakes nature of the end of course exams in high school by replacing it with SAT, ACT, PSAT, etc. HB 764 addresses the need for flexibility on assessments should another disaster occur.
Election Integrity - As mentioned in the previous newsletters in detail, Senate Bill 7/House 6 provides protections against voter fraud, and creates additional transparencies. I also look forward to passing this legislation in special session.