This Session’s Biggest Mental Health Bill Got Killed On A Technicality — Then Resurrected

A primary mental fitness bill prioritized by way of the nation’s pinnacle leaders as a manner to assist save you faculty shootings turned into in part revived past due Tuesday nighttime hours after it regarded to have been all of sudden killed on a technicality in the course of a dramatic night time inside the Texas House.
State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, raised a “point of order” on Senate Bill 10, which created a Texas Mental Health Consortium aimed at bringing together psychiatric experts from Texas medical schools and other health care carriers to attach youngsters to intellectual fitness services. Stickland’s factor of order contended that an analysis of the invoice supplied to lawmakers became inaccurate. After the House recessed for almost an hour and a 1/2 so parliamentarians could examine the technicality, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, somberly announced a ruling in Stickland’s prefer.
But hours later, provisions from SB 10 were delivered to Senate Bill eleven, a school safety bill that the lower chamber exceeded earlier inside the nighttime. State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, backed SB 10 within the House and successfully amended it to SB eleven over Stickland’s objections shortly before a middle of the night House closing date to develop bills from the higher chamber.
SB 10 is certainly one of several proposals that the nation’s GOP leaders championed inside the wake of the deadly shooting remaining yr at Santa Fe High School. Gov. Greg Abbott named it an emergency object in his State of the State deal with earlier this yr, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick distinctive it certainly one of his 30 legislative priorities.
Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the invoice’s writer, instructed senators in advance this 12 months that it turned into her “first-rate shot” at assisting college students in the aftermath of school shootings. It had bipartisan backing and cleared the upper chamber unanimously more than months ago.
“I assume it becomes a nicely-intentioned bill that had a few very terrible unintended effects,” Stickland advised the Tribune by way of cellphone Tuesday night time, an hour after his factor of order to start with knocked the invoice out of the competition. “I assume it may be stronger on parental rights to ensure our constitutional rights are protected in the bill.”
Asked if he became bracing for a backlash from leadership over killing any such excessive-profile invoice, Stickland stated, “I anticipate it.”
Within multiple hours, Stickland was given it.
As it has become clean Tuesday that Stickland’s point of order would torpedo the rules, key gamers who labored on SB 10 moved quickly to figure out next steps. Zerwas, a Richmond Republican, walked across the Capitol rotunda into the Senate, where he spoke with Nelson, presumably approximately information of the bill’s fate.
“It’s unlucky that there have been some people who were getting some negative feedback from their constituencies that felt the need to vote against this bill or by hook or by crook kill this invoice,” Zerwas told the Tribune. “And one of these took place to be Jonathan Stickland, who is pretty adept in locating factors of order and calling them, and he wins a few, he loses a few, and unluckily, he passed off to win one with Sen. Nelson’s invoice.”
Just earlier than eleven p.M., state Rep. Greg Bonnen, a Friendswood Republican and brother of the House speaker, made a movement to revive the mental fitness bill by using amending a sweeping faculty safety invoice surpassed earlier Tuesday. He supplied a cryptic message that there was “a possibility to do some extra work” so that you can “similarly make secure our colleges inside the state of Texas.”
Stickland approached the chamber’s returned microphone with questions.
“Is this something we’ve got visible before?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” Greg Bonnen said.
Stickland attempted to delay the movement, asking procedural questions on how the chamber changed into going to reconsider a portion of a bill that had already passed. He then gave a speech imploring colleagues now not to rethink SB 11, the school protection bill.
“Maybe you plan on vote casting for it, and that’s best,” Stickland stated. “But right here’s what I can promise you: One day, there may be gonna be something which you care approximately wherein you might be within the minority. … You’re going to wish that those regulations and our traditions and the way that this House operates protects you and your ability to rise up on your elements.”
At one factor, Stickland and a collection of lawmakers huddled on the front dais to discuss his tries to save you adding the mental health provisions to the college safety invoice.