We've already talked plenty these past few weeks about the many alarming bills filed by the members of the 84th Texas Legislature. So far this biennial legislative session has been a good show for those who savor watching one of the most conservative legislative bodies in the country try and shove a well known conservative state even further toward the right. It's an entertaining political circus to watch, right up until you realize that there's a good chance some of that stuff might actually become actual law. And that's when it is time to start looking on the bright side and sussing out the more positive pieces of legislation that are being run through the glorified political sausage machine known as the Lege.
Legislators had from November 10 to March 13 to file their bills for the general session. The filing deadline was last Friday. We've sifted through some of the bills filed and found some bills that are downright encouraging. Despite the fact that there's a ton of legislation focused on making sure all the guns can be openly carried everywhere and an alarming number of anti-LGBT laws of all sorts, there are actual good ideas being worked on. Here are five of our favorites:
5. The one that will protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy. HB 3495, filed by state Rep. Celia Israel, an Austin Democrat, has introduced a bill that will protect young people and their families from conversion therapy, a tactic that -- although it has become a part of the GOP platform -- has been condemned by the pretty much everyone, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Israel's bill will make it so that any mental health provider who "engages in unprofessional conduct" by trying to change a child or minor's gender identity or sexual or romantic feelings toward the same sex will be in trouble with the state. Specifically, they'll be subject to disciplinary action "by any state regulatory entity with the power to take disciplinary action against the mental health provider." Pretty nifty, right?