AAUW-Texas Position Statements on Special Session Bills
The AAUW-Texas Public Policy Committee, with guidance from our lobbyist, prepared position statements on select bills to present to legislators during the 87th Legislature Called Sessions.
Election Reform (SB 1/HB 3) – OPPOSE
As we have said many times during the regular session, election reform bills are solutions to problems that do not exist. There was little to no evidence of voter fraud in the last election cycle, so at most this bill will disenfranchise Texas citizens, especially the elderly population who already have difficulties voting. We hope that the legislature will consider the many negative impacts that this bill could have on the democratic process in Texas.
Thirteenth Check (SB 7/HB 85) – SUPPORT
Since 2004, members of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas have not seen an increase in their retirement checks. Inflation since the last increase has eaten away at retired teachers’ benefits, and the increased cost of living in many areas of the state has put many of our retired teachers in extremely difficult situations. After seventeen years without an increase, a raise is long overdue.
Youth Sports (SB 2/SB 32/HB 185) – OPPOSE
It is incredibly unfortunate that the legislature is spending its time targeting transgender youth while there are so many other pressing issues facing the state. Numerous studies have shown that participating in youth sports has a positive impact on mental health. For a population that disproportionately struggles with mental health issues, youth sports can be a key outlet for these students to connect with their peers. The state should not be prohibiting students from participating according to their gender identity.
Family Violence Prevention (SB 9/SB 72) – SUPPORT
We support the Governor’s efforts to prevent family violence. However, we do have some concerns about allowing parents to opt-out. The reason that an opt out for parents was not included in previous iterations of this bill was that, in some cases, the abuser is the parent. In other words, allowing parents to opt-out may exclude children most affected by family violence. Nevertheless, while the bill is imperfect, we support it in its current form.
Critical Race Theory (SB 3) – OPPOSE
Legislation targeting Critical Race Theory is completely unnecessary, as this theory is not taught in public schools. This bill will create uncertainty for, and will lead to intimidation of, our public-school teachers. We believe strongly that educators, not the government, should set the curriculum for students. While the bill itself is unnecessary, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent that should be rejected.
WHCB Public Policy Chair
AAUW Texas Public Policy Committee member