Key facts as Texas governor revives push for 'bathroom bill'

Six weeks left for the Texas Legislature, and there's a lot of fighting to be done

HB 549 has been a longtime priority for the Coalition of School Board Members, which has tried for years to pass a bill including numerous measures. One of the more significant changes would require schools to give elementary school students 100 minutes of "free-play recess" each week, including at least 20 minutes each day. He says he was once pulled over in West Virginia because he went exactly 55 miles per hour in a work zone where that was the posted speed limit, and a law enforcement officer told him he was "holding up traffic".

"It's a very narrow bill", Simmons said.

The committee's proposal is laid out in Senate Bill 2119 by Sen. One attendee posted a photo on Facebook showing that another 369 people registered their opposition of the bill that's being touted by its author Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, as a more considerate version of SB 6.

The House version of the recess bill - which was significantly watered down and is no longer supported by parents, health and physical education experts or the lawmaker sponsoring it - is stalled in a committee that's not scheduled to meet again. It also could mean more state money for children who need extra instruction to learn English in a state where many youngsters speak Spanish at home. Republican Representative Keith Regier of Kalispell is carrying the bill.

SB 1384 specifies that if the story is not libelous, does not constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, does not violate federal or state law or incite students to violate the law, the story can be published.

Texas has about 350,000 home-schooled students who are now barred from competing in the University Interscholastic League, the state's governing body for high school sports. A similar measure is pending in the House.

In February, the board sided with a committee of teachers and experts that recommended scrapping previous requirements asking high school biology students to consider "all sides" of scientific theory. But it also adopted rules that they "evaluate scientific explanations" on the "complexity" of human cells and on the origin of DNA. But critics worry the new curriculum still injects religious ideology into classroom instruction and could make students believe God helped create human life.

Sen. Sean Bennett wants tax reform - some cuts in income tax built into the bill that would raise the gas tax by 12-cents-per-gallon in increments of two cents for 6 years.

Progressive groups cheered the move, saying it safeguards lessons on evolution.

Senate Bills 1014 and 1015 were heard in committee April 10, while the companion legislation, House Bill 2110, was heard in committee April 18.

In fiscal 2008, state support of schools' maintenance, operations and facilities jumped to $17.1 billion, or 48.5 percent of combined state and local effort, noted Huberty, a Houston Republican who's the House's top education policy writer.

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