Trans sports ban SB2 put on hold as chairman Dutton rebels under pressure

Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, the chair of the House Public Education Committee, has refused to vote a bill prioritized by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Dutton says the Senate is holding up a bill to fund legislative staff. Photo:  Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas TribuneCredit:

SB 2 didn't get a committee vote Tuesday evening in the House when Chairman Harold Dutton (D) abruptly ended the last-minute meeting. 

House Public Education Committee Chairman Harold Dutton allowed a vote that, by 7-5 and along party lines, propelled Senate Bill 3, making "improvements" to the state’s “ban” on teaching of critical race theory.

However, Dutton didn't allow a vote to be taken on SB 2 and took the heat for it not happening. He adjourned the meeting despite threats that the legislative staff would likely not be paid as Abbott had vetoed that measure as a bargaining tool.

In an interview late Tuesday, Dutton said he could see from the Public Education Committee’s discussion of SB 2 that members were frustrated by a lack of data and what they see as undue pressure from the Senate. A lengthy discussion of an amendment by Huberty (R), which would have delayed the bill’s implementation for a year, and would have requested the University Interscholastic League to conduct a study, only muddied things further, Dutton said.

“I started to see that my members were going to get all cut up on it,” he said of the bill.

“We have gotten to the point now where the Senate has adopted certain principles and practices that I don’t think bode well for this Legislature,” he said.

“What’s happened is we have allowed them to do certain things and they disrespect the House in certain fashions. It has gotten worse to the point where today, what I am told, is that if we don’t pass these two bills — the [critical race theory] bill and the transgender bill — the Senate is not going to consider trying to fix the funding in Article X,” which is the Legislature’s funding, which Abbott line-item vetoed in June.

“So, I want to see if he has his big boy pants on,” Dutton concluded. “This meeting is adjourned.”

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