Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas Legislature’s quest to solve imaginary problems drags on

Melanie West

The Texas Legislature has a bit of a history when it comes to passing bills that create issues rather than solve existing ones. Last year, the campus carry bill drew a disproportionate amount of attention, while issues such as Medicaid funding and the hiring of enough case workers for Child Protective Services fell by the wayside. While the Legislature is now sticking Band-Aids over bullet holes, the 85th Legislative session won’t be working on things that actually need to be fixed. 

Instead, our Republican elected officials will continue to create problems rather than solve existing ones. Although Speaker Joe Straus has come out against Senate Bill 6, the “bathroom bill,” there’s still quite a bit of political support for it, namely from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. It’s funny because people using whichever bathroom fit their gender never seemed to be a problem until Obama made it official. 

If Patrick really wanted to solve problems that involve bathrooms, he’d be better off building policies that protect transgender people’s right to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender, seeing as how these individuals are most likely to be attacked in a bathroom.

Or maybe Patrick could focus on providing funding necessary to provide children in the foster care system a place to go to the bathroom overnight other than state offices

Writing outrageous and petty bills so that everyone looks the other way while the Legislature passes less salacious bills which do real damage is a kind of deflection. House Bill 2, which restricted access to abortion across the state, may have been overturned by the Supreme Court, but abortion restrictions in Texas are still based off information that is scientifically inaccurate. Additionally, the state’s current attempt to cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood would further reduce women’s access to healthcare. 

UT students who attended the Women’s March on Austin over the weekend, although protesting as part of a national movement, stressed the importance of keeping an eye on the state legislature in upcoming months. 

Business freshman Reilly Lawrence predicted there would be “legislation where you might not think it affects women, minorities, or LGBTQ+, but it does. Now that we have a Republican Legislature and Senate on the national level, it’s very important to be informed on state issues because there will be more power with each state.”

Speech/language pathology sophomore Madison Lee said that she’ll be keeping her eye on what happens.

“Year after year,” she said, “we see our state Republican Legislature attempt to restrict abortion rights and women’s rights.” 

History sophomore Ashton Sauseda added to Lee’s comment, saying she was watching public education cuts.

“The fact is, a woman’s education level influences her ability to family plan and make life choices,” she said.

Our job as students and citizens is to remain informed and watchful. As our school and work lives ramp up in the new semester, we must not forget the reality that policy changes will, in the long and short run, affect us too. Do not fall for the red herrings. Take the initiative to search for real news, real meaning and real purpose in the world.

MacLean is an advertising and geography sophomore from Austin. She is a senior columnist. Follow her on Twitter @maclean_josie.

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Texas Legislature’s quest to solve imaginary problems drags on