Wednesday, the Texas House of Representatives passed into law a bill that allows adoption agencies and foster care providers to discriminate based upon the personal religious beliefs of their “child welfare service providers.” So, if you’re gay, or Muslim, or remarried, or otherwise run afoul of the “sincerely held religious beliefs” of Alice down at the adoption agency, you can be barred from providing a vulnerable child with a stable, loving home. Sucks to be you, yes, but sucks even worse to be that poor kid. Texas is hell.
Emboldened though it may be by a 95-55 GOP majority, the Texas House of Representatives is still, thank God, crippled by procedural gear-grinding and garden variety conservative infighting. The Dallas News has the fun story of how these factors conspired to keep a host of equally repugnant bills from becoming law today: the long and short of it is, Texas is a huge state, and there are many bills, and many, many, many of them are routinely squeezed out of the schedule by the confluence of a midnight deadline, petty intra-party squabbling, and some well-executed foot-dragging.
A dawdling, fractious Texas House approached its first and biggest bill-passing deadline of the session late Thursday with Democrats stalling in a bid to stop bills banning donation or sale of fetal tissue after abortions and requiring fetal remains to be buried or cremated.
Republicans did most of the Democrats’ work by openly feuding over whether a dozen diehard staunch conservatives were being punished in petty ways - or simply reaping just desserts for their session-long obstructionist tactics and attacks on Speaker Joe Straus and his allies.
The abortion bills Democrats were most eager to block, barring certain procedures and taking more shots at Planned Parenthood, had about 70 bills ahead of them on the House calendar as of nearly 10 p.m.
Members faced a midnight deadline for winning tentative approval of House bills. The bills must pass a final vote by midnight Friday to stay alive, though some may be revived as “piggybacks” attached to measures that already have cleared one chamber or the other.
Get a load of anti-choice zealot Matt Schaefer, whining about what passes for a tantalizing carrot in that nightmarish hell-hole:
“They always dangle these pro-life bills out at us at the end of session and say, ‘Hey guys, behave and we’ll let you get some pro-life bills out,’” he said. “If you care about babies, you need to know that the leadership of the Texas House does not prioritize that issue.”
As in the U.S. House of Representatives, much of the grinding and obstructionism is the fault of, you guessed it, the Freedom Caucus, who are accused of threatening to kill more than a hundred small, non-controversial “local and consent calendar” bills in order to hasten the vote on ugly performances of retrograde conservative idealism down the schedule. The inevitable backlash this tactic earned, along with some timely “chubbing” (the deliberate protracting of debate to stall action) by Democrats brought about the opposite of the intended effect, because all the Freedom Caucus is any good at is mucking up government, even when they think they’re doing something else.