On Monday, November 14, Texas law makers got off to a rapid start in proposing new bills for the 85th legislative session that will begin on January 10, 2017. Hundreds of bills have been filed regarding a variety of prevalent and controversial topics that face America today. Some of the House bills (HB) have certainly tapped on important topics, but have also been quite interesting.

Sexual orientation and gender identity

Although the United States has made a lot of progress in equal rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity, many states do not have laws in place protecting the individuals of these communities from workplace discrimination; Texas being one of those states.

However, proposed bill 225 would forbid employer discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Also, homosexual conduct is still considered to be a criminal offense in Texas, bill 96 would repeal this standing.

Corporal punishment

Unknown to many, corporal punishment, or paddling in schools, is still legal in many of the US states, including Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and others. But bill 166 would lawfully prohibit corporal punishment in all Texas schools.

Decriminalizing marijuana

In the last week, seven states have legalized Marijuana; three recreationally and four medically. This week, it was announced that Texas is in the process of decriminalizing marijuana, with bill 58 offering first-time offenders a speciality court case.

Other bills also discuss reducing the penalties for possession under an ounce of marijuana.

Abortion

Abortion is an extremely controversial topic that was prevalent throughout the presidential campaigns. Although Donald Trump strongly opposes abortion, bill 87 touches on the topic allowing it to be legal under certain circumstances.

Death penalty

Eighteen states currently have laws that ban the death penalty, and with bill 64, Texas is working to follow in the same path. This would abolish capital punishment completely.

Other bills filed

Other House bills touch on topics such as bullying and harassment, raising the minimum wage to $15.00, voting registration, daylight savings time, firearms, Texas education, and tax exemptions regarding child and adult diapers and feminine products.

The last legislative session occurred on January 13, 2015, but in less than two months, Texas’ legislature will gather for the 85th session in order to determine which bills will be passed as new Texas state laws.

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