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Rep. Celia Israel Files Bill Banning Conversion Therapy

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Texas State Capitol

Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, State Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) of Texas House District 50, has filed House Bill 517, which would allow the state to take action against mental health care providers who practice “conversion therapy” on LGBTQ youth.

Conversion therapy is the practice of aiming to eliminate or suppress the sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression of LGBTQ individuals. HB 517 would allow state agencies with regulatory authority over certain mental health providers to take disciplinary action against providers who practice conversion therapy on Texans under 18 years of age.

The practice is not supported by national public health organizations such as the American Psychological Association, citing minors’ increased risk of depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior as a result of conversion therapy.

“Republicans and Democrats have come together to protect LGBTQ youth around the country. Five states have passed legislation since the Texas Legislature last met,” said Rep. Israel. “HB 517 is an important step forward for the health and safety of our children, because LGBTQ Texans don’t need to be ‘fixed.’ We need love and support.”

As of 2018, 14 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws preventing the act of conversion therapy on minors.

Chase is the Founder and Creative Director of therepubliq.com, Host and Executive Producer of OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin. In 2012, CultureMap Austin named him one of Austin's Top LGBT bloggers and he received the AGLCC's Chamber Award for Social Media Diva.

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86th TX Lege

Dan Patrick Dismisses Need for Bathroom Bill in 2019: “It’s been settled and I think we won”

In 2017, Patrick pushed for the controversial measure that would have restricted the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans, but it failed to become law.

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, sits next to Gov. Greg Abbott
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, left, sits next to Gov. Greg Abbott as he speaks during a press conference at the Governor's Mansion on Wednesday. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / Texas Tribune.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune

The “bathroom bill” won’t be back this session, its loudest champion suggested Wednesday morning.

At a Governor’s Mansion press conference on the second day of this year’s legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick — who last session was the top state leader championing the measure, which would have regulated the use of certain public facilities for transgender Texans — suggested there’s no need to bring back the divisive proposal that headlined the last legislative year in 2017, but failed to reach the governor’s desk. 

“When you win the battle, you don’t have to fight the battle again,” Patrick said, sitting beside Gov. Greg Abbott and recently elected Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton. “I think it’s been settled, and I think we’ve won.” 

Without citing evidence, Patrick claimed that the school district behavior necessitating the measure has “stopped.” 

“Sometimes a bill doesn’t pass, but you win on the issue,” Patrick said.

The bathroom bill fight kicked off in the wake of an Obama-era policy guideline that directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity. One version of Texas’ “bathroom bill” measure would have required that individuals, including transgender men and women, use the facilities with the gender identity on their birth certificates. Other, similar proposals would have prevented local governments and school districts from enacting or enforcing nondiscrimination ordinances allowing transgender individuals to use the facilities that align with their gender identity.

In the months since the 2017 legislative sessions, Patrick has made similar suggestions that the issue no longer requires the Legislature’s attention. But his answer carried extra weight Wednesday as he and the state’s other top two leaders projected a unified front, promising to tackle bread-and-butter policy reforms like school finance, property tax reform and disaster recovery. Any lawmaker can file a bill, but if the measure doesn’t have support from the state’s top leaders, it’s unlikely to make it very far.

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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86th TX Lege

#TXLege86 LGBTQ+ Watch

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The dome from the inside of the Texas State Capitol building
The dome from the inside of the Texas State Capitol building

The 86th Texas Legislature opens this week and, so far, no bathroom bills, but what we do have are several LGBTQ-related bills, all by Democratic lawmakers.

State Senators José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) and José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) filed a bill to revise statutes that referred to “homosexual conduct” as an unacceptable lifestyle and a “criminal offense.”

State Senator José R. Rodríguez and fellow Democrat from El Paso
State Representative Joe Moody, have filed bills to repeal Texas’ anti-sodomy law that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas, yet still remains on the books.

Whils Senators José R. Rodríguez, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and John Whitmire (D-Houston) are calling for “a constitutional amendment to repeal the constitutional provision providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”

Representatives Jes­sica Far­rar (D-Houston) and Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) along with Senators José R. Rodríguez, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and John Whitmire (D-Houston) are all sponsoring bills that would prohibit “certain discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression” in housing, employment and public accommodations “providing an administrative penalty; creating a criminal offense.”

Representative Celia Israel (D-Austin) has filed a bill that would ban “conversion therapy” on children and allow state agencies with regulatory authority over certain mental health providers to take disciplinary action against providers who practice conversion therapy on Texans under 18 years of age

State Senator José R. Rodríguez has filed a bill through would streamline the name and gender change process which will benefit the transgender community.

Representative Donna Howard (D-Austin) has filed a bill that would add condoms to the state’s list of items that are tax-exempt.

History made today in Texas as five LGBTQ representatives are sworn in. Congratulations to (left to right) Rep. Celia…

Posted by Equality Texas on Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Three new out LGBTQ lawmakers in the Capitol join Celia Israel and Mary González (D-Clint) after their wins in the mid-term elections: Reps. Jessica González (D-Dallas), Julie Johnson (D-Irving) and Erin Zwiener (D-Dripping Springs).

HOUSE BILLS

HB 84
Status: Referred to House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee – 02/12/2019
Read first time – 02/12/2019
Filed – 11/12/2018
Sponsor: Rep. Joseph “Joe” Moody (D-El Paso) – District 78
Relating to the repeal of the offense of homosexual conduct.

HB 188
Status: Referred to House Urban Affairs Committee – 02/13/2019
Read first time – 02/13/2019
Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) – District 123
Co-sponsor: Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton) – District 65
Co-sponsor: Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Irving) – District 115
Relating to the prohibition of housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression and to the enforcement of that prohibition.

HB 244
Status: Referred to House State Affairs Committee – 02/19/2019
Read first time – 02/19/2019
Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) – District 148
Co-sponsor: Rep. Sheryl Cole (D-Austin) – District 46
Relating to the prohibition of certain discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; providing an administrative penalty; creating a criminal offense.

HB 254
Status: Referred to House State Affairs Committee – 02/19/2019
Read first time – 02/19/2019
Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) – District 123
Co-sponsor: Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Irving) – District 115
Relating to the prohibition of certain discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; providing an administrative penalty; creating a criminal offense.

HB 315
Status: Referred to House Ways & Means Committee – 02/19/2019
Read first time – 02/19/2019
Filed – 11/13/2018
Co-Sponsor: Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) – District 48
Co-sponsor: Rep. Sheryl Cole (D-Austin) – District 46
Relating to a sales and use tax exemption for condoms.

HB 517
Status: Referred to House Public Health Committee – 02/20/2019
Read first time – 02/20/2019
Filed – 12/12/2018
Sponsor: Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin) – District 50
Relating to unprofessional conduct by mental health providers who attempt to change the sexual orientation of a child; providing penalties.

HB 595
Status: Filed – 12/27/2018
Sponsor: Rep. John “Jon” E. Rosenthal (D-Houston) – District 135
Relating to making certain false alarms or reports because of bias or prejudice; increasing a criminal penalty “against a group identified by race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, gender, or sexual preference or by status as a peace officer or judge.”

SENATE BILLS

SB 114
Status: Filed
Sponsor: Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio) – District 26
Relating to the repeal of statutes regarding the criminality or unacceptability of homosexual conduct and to the recognition of certain same-sex relationship statuses.

SB 151
Status: Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Sen. José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) – District 29
Co-sponsor: Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) – District 20
Co-sponsor: Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) – District 15
Relating to the prohibition of certain discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression; providing an administrative penalty; creating a criminal offense.

SB 152
Status: Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Sen. José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) – District 29
Co-sponsor: Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) – District 15
Relating to the repeal of the criminal offense of homosexual conduct.

SB 153
Status: Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Sen. José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) – District 29
Relating to certain statutory changes to reflect and address same-sex marriages and parenting relationships and to the removal of provisions regarding the criminality or unacceptability of homosexual conduct.

SB 154
Status: Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Sen. José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) – District 29
Relating to a change of name and sex for certain persons and the issuance of associated vital records and documentation; authorizing a fee.

SJR 9
Status: Filed – 11/12/2018
Co-sponsor: Sen. José R. Rodríguez (D-El Paso) – District 29
Co-sponsor: Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) – District 20
Co-sponsor: Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) – District 15
Proposing a constitutional amendment to repeal the constitutional provision providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

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86th TX Lege

Rep. Celia Israel Files Bill Sending Medicaid Expansion to Voters

Rep. Celia Israel files filed House Joint Resolution 40 and House Bill 590 sending the decision aboutn health care expansion to Texas voters

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Texas State Capitol

In advance of the 86th Texas Legislative Session, Rep. Celia Israel (HD 50) filed House Joint Resolution 40 and House Bill 590, requiring the state, upon approval by Texas voters, to expand Medicaid to more than 1.6 million Texans who are currently uninsured.

Past attempts to expand Medicaid or provide a “Texas Solution,” by both Republican and Democrat lawmakers have failed. Now, Rep. Israel says the voters should decide, “If lawmakers can’t find the courage to expand access to health care coverage so our children and families can see doctors and get life-saving treatment, I know Texans have the courage.”

In Texas, law cannot be made via statewide referendum, but the voters can approve amendments to the state constitution. “Let’s let the voters decide. At this point it’s beyond irresponsible – it’s reckless – for state leaders not to take some sort of action.”

If HJR 40 and HB 590 pass, Texas voters will get to decide to bring over $114 billion of Texas’ taxpayer dollars back to the state and most importantly, give over 1.6 million Texans without health care coverage access to basic coverage and treatment that could save their lives.

32 other states are already providing their residents expanded health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. In 2019, four more states will expand coverage, making Texas one of last few states to take action yet again.

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