So we’re in the last week of Texas 87th legislative session.
Officially session ends at midnight this coming Monday the 31st, but yesterday marked a major deadline — it was the last day for the House to pass any Senate bills. Today is the deadline for the Senate to pass House bills — and it’s also the deadline to pass all bills. Until Monday at midnight the rest of session is mostly about cleaning up any bills that have been passed that have mismatched amendments. And the Governor has until June 20th to sign or veto all the bills passed. If you want to learn more about all the deadlines of a legislative session, check out this previous post.
We know some really terrible bills were passed this session. SB 8, the 6-week abortion ban, was signed by the Governor last week. It doesn’t go into effect until September 1st, so please know that for now abortion is still legal in Texas. Yesterday HB 1280 passed the Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. That bill is a “trigger” ban, meaning it bans abortion completely in Texas the minute that Roe v. Wade is overturned. With the Supreme Court now set to hear the case about the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban, that is even more a possibility than ever, so this bill’s passage is really alarming.
And some really bad bills died. SB 29, the Senate bill that would block trans kids from participating in sports, died in the House at midnight last night. HB 1171, the bill that would allow judges to appoint lawyers for fetuses in judicial bypass cases, and HB 1173, the bill that would bar local governments from supporting abortion-related services, both died at an earlier deadline. And SB 802, a bill to create a statewide database of people who seek abortion, died last night in the House.
Here’s some bills that got filed that we loved but failed to pass:
HB 3369 – My Body, My Future bill that would completely repeal the requirement for parental consent for people under 18 to access birth control
HB 4389 – Abortion is Healthcare Act that would have repealed all unnecessary abortion restrictions
HB 1362/SB 448 – Rosie’s Law which would have repealed the restriction on state funding for abortion.
HB 296/SB 536 – would have allowed teen parents to consent to contraception
HB 321/HB 388/HB 490 – would have removed tampon tax
HB 835 – would have expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover contraception
HB 3825/SB 1722 – Free Choice of Provider Act which would have repealed restrictions on Medicaid and local government support for reproductive health services provided by Planned Parenthood
While session ends on Monday, there’s a possibility the Governor could call a special session. If he does this, he will state what the session is being called to do, and bills that don’t meet that criteria can’t be filed or passed during that time. But it’s looking like there’s definitely a possibility that the Governor could call a special session specifically to revive bills that failed to pass during this regular session. Oooof.
So with everything that’s happened, what’s next? Well first, join us in Austin this Saturday, May 29th at 11 am on the South Steps of the Capitol building in Austin for the Don’t Mess with Texans’ Abortions rally and march. And you can support your local abortion fund or practical support organization (including Jane’s Due Process) by making a donation or getting involved as a volunteer.
Now more than ever it’s all hands on deck for abortion access! But maybe after Monday take a little slice of time to rest up for the fight, because it’s far from over.