On Wednesday, the Senate took around six hours to debate a bill that will allow Texans to carry firearms without a permit. After several hours of discussion, Sen. Brandon Creighton collapsed on the floor and was taken to a hospital. (TCTA sends our best wishes to the Senator for a full recovery.) The bill eventually passed and will return to the House, having already passed that chamber.
The House continued work on a lengthy calendar Wednesday evening, after passing legislation imposing strong restrictions on abortion, and other controversial bills. Debate throughout the day was contentious, with numerous points of order and close votes adding to the drama.
The House Pensions, Investments and Financial Services Committee heard HB 4078 by Rep. Greg Bonnen, a bill that would allow school districts to withdraw from the TRS-administered ActiveCare health insurance plan under certain conditions. The bill includes limitations to help ensure that movement in and out of the plan will not cause undue increases in premiums for districts remaining in the plan. It will prohibit districts from using their District of Innovation status to provide a local health insurance plan in addition to ActiveCare, but will allow districts to leave and enter ActiveCare as long as they remain in or out of the plan, as applicable, for at least five years. Similar legislation in the Senate, SB 1444, was expected to be considered on the Senate floor but was not brought up during today’s session.
The House considered a previously uncontroversial bill, HB 2261 by Rep. Gene Wu to allow municipal management districts to fund projects for public education facilities. These districts already have the authority to help fund projects for dozens of other types of entities. Examples of projects in which such a district might be involved would include partnering with schools on playgrounds or recreational fields. However, the bill was unexpectedly amended to replace public schools with private schools before passing the House on an initial vote. Rep. Dan Huberty expressed concern about the change and pointed out that the House might revisit the issue when the bill comes up for a final House vote on Thursday.