Remember the unmasked Democrats who took the booze bus to a flight to Washington D.C. in order to break quorum earlier this summer?
Fast-forward to the last day of August: several of the same Democratic state representatives managed to water-down a bill to enforce Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on local mask mandates.
Abbott, whose order has been defied by at least 50 public school districts in Texas (while Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton takes copious notes) was to be reinforced by a bill authored by Republican Rep. Jeff Leach. However a competing bill, by Democratic Rep. Harold Dutton (also chairman of the House Public Ed committee in which the bill was heard) would have removed the mandate entirely allowing each district to decide.
Of the 13 members of the Texas House Public Education committee, six were Democrats who fled to Washington D.C. to stymie House business, claiming an election integrity bill was an attack on the democratic process. Most of the remaining members are on the moderate side when it comes to education policy.
A compromise was reached on Leach’s House Bill 141 in the wee hours Monday night. The bill, left pending in the Public Ed committee, would now allow for parental opt-outs if a district decides to mandate masks.
So far the Texas Senate has yet to pass a bill of its own. There is one week left in the second special session of the Texas Legislature, with a third all-but certain for redistricting purposes this fall.
Meanwhile, masked and unmasked districts continue to see increased numbers of COVID-19 reports among students.