Top Austin Headlines of 2021: Whole Lotta Lege News, Mostly Bad

May 30: Texas House Democrats walk out en masse at the end of the regular session, thwarting (for a while) not only “election integrity” legislation but also a ban on trans student athletes

Texas House Dems (Photo by Jana Birchum)

From Medicaid expansion to public safety, little progress was made on progressive policy change in the 87th Texas Legislature. Four years after Texas Republicans failed to get anti-trans legislation policing bathrooms onto Gov. Greg Abbott's desk, GOP lawmakers were successful this year in their efforts to pass anti-trans student-athlete legislation, House Bill 25.

At first, it looked like the right wing's trans panic would again fail to persuade the whole Legislature, as Democrats – many of whom belong to the Texas House LGBTQ Caucus – killed the measure during the regular session by running out the clock on the House floor. It wasn't until the third special session in September, after quorum-busting House Dems returned to the Capitol following a summer of lobbying Congress to protect democracy, that HB 25 made it through both chambers after being reintroduced at the behest of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Texas lawmakers filed more anti-LGBTQIA bills this year than ever before, and the most this year of any state, but Lone Star Republicans were hardly alone in their attacks targeting trans youth. HB 25 made Texas one of at least six states in 2021 to pass anti-trans youth legislation, which is part of a larger national trend unfolding in red statehouses across the nation. HB 25 is scheduled to become effective Jan. 18.

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Top 10s 2021, Top 10s, 87th Texas Legislature, House Bill 25, Medicaid expansion, LGBTQIA rights, Texas House LGBTQ Caucus, Dan Patrick

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