First day for pre-filing at State Capitol
The anti-cyber bullying legislation drafted by state senator Jose Menendez was among more than 400 bills pre-filed Monday for the upcoming session.
The measure is named after 16-year-old David Molak. He took his life earlier this year after being harassed on social media but because of gaps in the criminal code those responsible were never prosecuted.
"this is better than what we have for sure, law enforcement tells me they don't have legislation or any laws on the books that can help them unmask an anonymous cyber bully that is what this is going to help do,” said Sen. Menendez (D) San Antonio.
Cyber bullying is not the only big issue up for discussion. Other bills filed would abolish the death penalty. Ban texting and driving statewide. Allow on line voter registration. Repeal the criminalization of homosexuality. Opt out of daylight savings time. Ban red light & school bus stop arm cameras. Exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. Regulate powdered alcohol and discontinue trying 17 year olds as adults.
"As a group we will be laser focused on addressing the kitchen table concerns of working Texas families,” said Rep. Donna Howard (D) Austin.
A coalition of state democrats also said education reform, infrastructure investment & healthcare access will be top priorities during the session.
"We are not going to talk about political issues that are Fringe topics we are going to talk about the future of Texas,” said Rep. Mary Gonzalez a member of the House Education Committee.
Lt. Gov Dan Patrick also issued his list of issues he wants addressed in the state senate during the session. Some of what Patrick is proposing will spark heated debate. The to-do list includes; the controversial bathroom bill which would restrict the use of bathrooms by gender list at birth. Outlawing sanctuary cities. Shorings up voter ID. Banning partial birth abortions and increase criminal penalties for the sale of fetal tissue.
"There will undoubtedly will be some difficulty we don't have the luxury of huge inflows of funds,” said James dickey with the Travis Co GOP.
The tone and tenor of the coming session, according to Dickey, may be dictated by the new members who were recently elected.
"It will be real interesting to see how that plays out, how many of them rise to the occasion are able to influence other people."
The formal debates start in January.