Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 134: Final Push for Bully Bills in Senate

Today is the 134th day of the 82nd regular session of the Texas Legislature. The Senate reconvenes at 10 am, the House at 11.

Today's Senate intent calendar has two bills designed to address school bullying and youth suicide: HB 1942 by Diane Patrick (R-Arlington) and HB 1386 by Garnet Coleman (D-Houston). The intent calendar is list of bills Senators plan to bring up for a vote by having 2/3 of the Senators (or 21) agree to debate the bill.

Patrick's bill is an amalgamation of ideas from a number of anti-bullying bills sent to the House Public Education Committee. The Committee formed a sub-committee which forged the least controversial ideas into a "super bill," the authors the component bills then all signed on as co-authors of HB 1942. The bill was also on the intent calendar last Friday and Saturday but was not brought up for a vote.

Coleman's bill would allow school districts to work in cooperation with other state agencies to provide counseling and other services to youth at risk of suicide and to provide education to administrators and teachers on how to identify at risk youth. It does not require school district to take any action but provides resources to those who wish to address the issue. This is it's first day on the Senate's Intent Calendar.

It's vital that Senators hear from constituents telling them to support HB 1942 and HB 1386. Equality Texas has set up an easy to use form e-mail generator here. You can find the phone number for your Senator here. You can find the phone and fax numbers for all of the Senator's here.

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