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Abbott signs power, drug laws

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Special to the News-Standard

AUSTIN – Gov. Greg Abbott signed laws to empower Texas parents, protect Texans from the growing national fentanyl crisis, and safeguard women’s sports passed during the 88th Regular Legislative Session at the Texas Capitol.

At the bill signing ceremony last week, Abbott signed a transformative package of four laws that empower parents in the educational decisions of their children. On Wednesday, he took significant action in the fight against deadly fentanyl, signing four laws that will save countless lives.

Abbott also signed laws protecting the integrity of women’s collegiate sports in Texas.

On Monday, Abbott signed four transformative parent empowerment laws that will give parents access to course curriculum, allow parents to determine if their child should repeat a grade, remove inappropriate books from libraries schools, and support students with special needs.

“Today, I will sign four bills into law that grant parents more rights in the education of their children,” Abbott said. “One of those bills transforms school curriculum, improving it for Texas parents, students, and teachers. We will empower parents of students with special needs with the tools and resources they need to provide their child with the best education.

I will also sign a law where parents — not school administrators — have the option to determine whether it’s in the child’s best interest to repeat a grade level. Additionally, parents deserve to know what books are in school libraries. I’m signing a law that gets inappropriate or vulgar materials out of our schools.”

Abbott was joined at the bill signing ceremony by Sen. Brandon Creighton; Reps. Charles Cunningham, Lacey Hull, and Jared Patterson; Texas Public Policy Foundation CEO Greg Sindelar and Campaign Director Mandy Drogin; Texas parents; and other parent empowerment advocates.

•House Bill 900 (Patterson/Paxton) prohibits the possession, acquisition, and purchase of harmful library material that is sexually explicit, pervasively vulgar, or educationally unsuitable. In November 2021, Abbott sent a letter to the Texas Association of School Boards to ensure no child is exposed to sexually explicit or other inappropriate content at a Texas public school.

•House Bill 1605 (Buckley/Creighton) allows parents to access and review instructional materials and requires districts to provide teachers with a full sequence of instructional materials so they do not have to devote personal or planning time to develop instructional materials themselves.

•House Bill 1926 (Hull/Paxton) removes the $30 million cap on the total amount of funds that may be appropriated for the Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) program each fiscal year. This bill expands access to more students who need these critical services. In October 2020, Abbott established the SSES program to offset learning disruptions caused by school closures.

•House Bill 3803 (Cunningham/Paxton) allows parents to determine if their child should repeat a grade level for 4th through 8th grades or a high school level course. Texas students in grades four through eight are eligible to retake any course in which they were enrolled in the previous year unless the student has already met all requirements for graduation.

Surrounded by families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl, Abbott also took a significant step forward Wednesday in the fight against the deadly opioid, signing four key laws to prosecute fentanyl deaths as murder, ensure death certificates reflect when people are poisoned by fentanyl, provide more life-saving NARCAN to Texas universities, and educate young Texans about the dangers of fentanyl.

“The fentanyl epidemic has taken far too many innocent lives, but thanks to the work by brave parents and loved ones, like those here today, we have made Texans aware of this crisis,” said Abbott. “These four laws will forever change Texas through new protections that will help save lives. In my State of the State address at the beginning of this session, I made curbing the fentanyl epidemic an emergency item. Today, I am signing four new laws that will save countless lives.”

Abbott was joined at the bill signing ceremony by Sens. Brandon Creighton, Donna Campbell, Joan Huffman, and Royce West; Reps. Craig Goldman, John Lujan, and Terry Wilson; Texas Against Fentanyl (TXAF) Founder Stefanie Turner; Leander High School alumna and student fentanyl advocate Jenna Mitchell; dozens of families who lost loved ones to fentanyl; and other fentanyl awareness advocates.

•House Bill 6 (Goldman/Huffman) creates a criminal offense of murder for supplying fentanyl that results in death, enhances the criminal penalty for the manufacturing or delivery of fentanyl, and requires deaths caused by fentanyl to be designated as fentanyl toxicity or fentanyl poisoning on a death certificate. Current law does not require such classification on a death certificate, with most fentanyl-related deaths currently classified as an overdose.

•House Bill 3144 (Lujan/Campbell) establishes October as Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Month to help increase awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.

•House Bill 3908 (Wilson/Creighton) also known as Tucker’s Law, requires public schools each year to provide research-based instruction on fentanyl abuse prevention and drug poisoning awareness to students grades 6 through 12. The bill also requires a designation of a Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week.

•Senate Bill 867 (West/Rose) allows the distribution of opioid antagonists, including lifesaving NARCAN, to Texas colleges and universities to prevent opioid poisonings.

Then on Thursday, Abbott signed into law the Save Women’s Sports Act, which protects the integrity of women’s sports by prohibiting biological males from competing against female athletes at Texas colleges and universities.

“Today is an important day for female athletes across the state of Texas, including little girls who aspire to one day compete in college sports,” said Abbott. “Sports have inspired many women to cast bold visions and dreams of what they want to achieve. The legacy of women’s sports will be safeguarded for generations to come. Women in Texas can be assured that the integrity of their sports will be protected in our state.”

The was joined at the bill signing ceremony by Sen. Mayes Middleton and Donna Campbell; Reps. Caroline Harris, Tom Oliverson, and Valoree Swanson; former collegiate swimmer Jeri Shanteau; collegiate basketball player Kassidy Comer; powerlifter Jade Dickens; collegiate swimmer Ellie McLeod; collegiate volleyball player Makenna Miller; and other women’s sports advocates.

•Senate Bill 15 (Middleton/Swanson) prohibits a biological male from competing in a college-level athletic competition designated for a biological female athlete to maintain competitive fairness. The bill also creates a mechanism for people to seek injunctive relief against a Texas public college or university or intercollegiate athletic team if it violates the provisions of the bill.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ell Chapo · 8 months ago
    What pain medicine is he takeing for his back injury  …..
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Joe · 8 months ago
      @Ell Chapo He's been lying on piles of corrupt money. Heard it gives good spinal traction if you can get the heap high enough.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tara Garcia · 7 months ago
     I almost lost faith,almost thought you were brown nosing some other leaders.Bravo you proved me wrong .Your are looking at both sides and making your structure more purple then one sided.Thank you Mr Abbott for coming back as the man that I have always respected. 🙏 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Lanclos · 7 months ago
    The Biden sex trafficking ring must be stopped!
    With enough money, u can have a child delivered to the border with your contact information and homeland insecurity will deliver said child to your door.  With no background checks.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Betty · 8 months ago
    Stand behind your righteous decisions Governor Abbott, thank you!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    LoveInNeed · 8 months ago
    No one should be suffering nor left unheard. These strong feelings opinions is the US greatest divide. That’s why we’re behind and not ahead. if you needed anything personally from Gov Abbott would he take the time to respond and locate/deliver resources personally?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Shannon · 8 months ago
    So no bad books... what about bad guns? Seems you forgot about that part....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joe · 8 months ago
    This is a horrible article. Manipulative language at its best. How about a little bit of subjectivity? 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Robert Salas · 8 months ago
    Abbott Comedy Tour rolls on.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cheree Landry · 7 months ago
    I'm so over the moon elated to hear the new laws in effect and the awareness being brought to The Great State Of Texas! Thank you so much Governor Abbott 🇱🇷💙
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jay David Orcutt · 7 months ago
    Sorry that this drug is such a problem n I only want to die because this country is a piece of shit.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    June · 7 months ago
    Yay for good ole Texas!!! Come on America let’s start standing up to this garbage the Left is allowing!!!!! 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lloyd spruce · 8 months ago
    #Impeach Abbott
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MYA R ZUNIGA · 8 months ago
    Perhaps if educators could actually do their jobs then parents wouldn't have to decide to hold their children back. State mandated curriculum for testing is bad enough now these idiots are providing the lesson plans too? Even the stupid is bigger in TX. Great. 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paula · 8 months ago
    Thank you..and can you also allow school choice and the money will follow student instead of school keeping 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marsha · 7 months ago
    Our Great Governor of Texas !  Hats off
    to you Sir!  Protecting the people 
    and children of The great state of
    Texas !!  God Bless you!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tony Brown · 8 months ago
    I support all these bills.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ginger · 8 months ago
    Leave the books alone! Unless you also remove the Bible, the most violent, oppressive and sexual book out there! Parents should not have sole authority to keep children from being held back. They should be part of the decision making process but we need an educated society. 
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Martha A Ortegon · 8 months ago
    Abbott the Dictator. wouldn't piss on you if you where on fire..he only cares about Billionaires.. wake up Texas..Anna Richards was the last great Gov TX had .. Abbott care's about books an the Ten commandments in school but yet ABBOTT 🖕 does give a Dam if You.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    T · 8 months ago
    He has more courage than all the democrats put together. Well done Gov. Abbott! 
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Joe · 8 months ago
      @T How? He's doing republican things surrounded by other corrupt Republicans cheering on his republican agenda. Where is the bravery?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bo Jaxon · 8 months ago
    What Governor Abbott needs to do if he wants to really help TEXANS is sign a bill into law that prevents fag loving sub human transvestites and people from California from visiting or residing in Texas.