Texas Senate, Moving at Warp Speed, Passes Several Bills In Committee

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The Texas Senate is certainly not letting any grass grow under its feet as it rushes through the current Special Session, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

In addition to the controversial 'bathroom bill' to limit transgender rest room rights in public and school facilities, another Senate committee voted to overturn San Antonio's law banning cell phone use while driving, and approve a far less restrictive statewide bill.

San Antonio city officials are lobbying against the statewide ban, saying the statewide proposal only prohibits using a cell phone to receive, transmit, or read a written message while driving.

City officials say the law which has been in place in San Antonio since 2015 is far tougher, and the new law would again allow drivers to talk on a hand held cell phone, use a GPS system in the cell phone, and even watch videos and play video games on cell phones while driving, all of which are outlawed by the San Antonio measure.

Gov. Greg Abbott says statewide restrictions against the use of cell phones while driving are needed, because a 'patchwork' of local ordinance which can change from city limit to city limit, is confusing and difficult to enforce.

Another Senate committee approved the state's first ever school voucher program.  It would allow the use of 'tax credit scholarships' to send special needs students to public schools which are geared to better deal with their particular disability, like schools for the deaf and blind.  It would be the first time any sort of public funding would be allowed to go to private school tuition.

This week, a Senate committee is expected to approve that measure prohibiting the City of San Antonio from annexing a huge chunk of Leon Springs without the approval of people who live in the area to be annexed.

"Forced annexation by cities — without a vote by the impacted property owners — is piracy by government, a tyranny of taxation without representation that would have made old King George proud," Abbott wrote in an op ed this weekend.

City officials will fight for a compromise that would require a vote on annexation...not just by the people who live in the area to be annexed, but by the entire city. They say people who live in unincorporated Bexar County frequently work in San Antonio, and utilize city services, without paying for them through city property taxes.

The Texas House, meanwhile, has taken no meaningful action, amid speculation that the House may take drastic action to kill the 'bathroom bill' and other conservative initiatives.

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