Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants the Texas Legislature to take up a measure similar to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. He also wants lawmakers to examine the book approval process in public school libraries and what he thinks is a lack of parental choice in deciding public school curriculum.
Cayla Harris is a state bureau reporter for the Houston Chronicle. She told Texas Standard that Patrick is promising campaign supporters that if he’s reelected, he will push lawmakers to pass a measure that would prohibit teachers from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity to students below the fourth grade. Similar to Texas’ abortion law, Senate Bill 8, parents would be responsible for enforcing the law by being able to sue educators they think are discussing these topics with their children.
Patrick sent an email with a subject line referencing the Disney Corporation’s opposition to a Florida law that forbids teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity to children in third grade or lower. Opponents of the law say it will create a chilling effect by instilling fear of lawsuits among educators.
“He said ‘I am done with Disney.’ And then he went on a rant about Disney hating Florida’s new law,” Harris said. “And then he said he wanted to implement it here.”
On Monday, Patrick also announced his priorities for the 2023 legislative session. They include “parent empowerment,” which Patrick defines as giving parents more say in the content of school curriculum. Patrick also wants lawmakers to create recommendations for ways to review school library books for age appropriateness.