By RON SIMMONS
TX House Member District 65
Two very important issues that I feel strongly about have been added to the call to special session by Governor Abbott. Both issues concern the education, safety, and well-being of our children, who along with the elderly are some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. I will be working very hard during the special session to ensure that both items become Texas law.
The first is the issue of education choice for children with special needs. On the whole, our public schools do a magnificent job of educating these children, but sometimes the programs or equipment they offer do not provide the ideal situation for these children to truly get the most out of their education. As such, I have proposed that we allow the parents of these children to find the best education options for their child, whether it be a public (even in a different school district), private, charter, or home school setting. As the father of a special needs child, I am acutely aware of the complex issues that make each child’s situation different. Given these differences, I believe we ought to allow as much flexibility as possible for these families to make the choices for education that work the best for their individual needs.
As it relates to the privacy act, I want to ensure that young girls are not forced to share locker rooms with boys. Shiloh, a 10 year old 4th grade girl from Dripping Springs, has expressed how it would make her feel uncomfortable for a boy to share her locker room. I firmly believe that if our state would like to overturn the 170 plus year tradition of separate facilities for each biological sex, then it should be done at the state level. To date, no such law has been proposed. In this case, I do not think that towns, municipalities, school districts and counties should impose additional protected classes beyond what is currently required in state and federal law. HB 46 would only prohibit a political subdivision’s ability to create policies compelling facility usage according to gender identity, allowing private entities to handle this issue as they see fit. All of our citizens, whatever their race, creed, sexual orientation, religion, or political persuasion should be respected by the government – and this bill ensures that governments stay out of this process unless this issue is decided by representatives of all Texans in Austin.