Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Seeks Parental Rights in Education Law

Texas Lt. Gov. Patrick Seeks Parental Rights in Education Law Dan Patrick Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 05 April 2022 11:04 AM

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Monday he will focus on passing legislation similar to Florida's Parental Rights in Education law.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., last week signed into law a bill that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Patrick, in a campaign email, said that the issue will be addressed in Education Committee hearings before Texas' next legislative session, which doesn't start until January.

"I will make this law a top priority in the next session," Patrick said, The Texas Tribune reported.

Enforcement of Florida's new law falls to parents, much like Texas' new abortion law, which empowers private citizens to sue anyone who "aids or abets" an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy, the Tribune said.

A Florida parent can sue a school district for damages, which include attorney fees, if they believe it has broken the law.

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, has said parents should have more rights concerning their children's education as he campaigns for a third term.

Patrick also vowed to prioritize Texas legislation limiting lessons about LGBTQ people. He denounced The Walt Disney Company for publicly promising to help repeal the controversial Florida law.

Patrick's announcement came after fellow state Republicans aim to curtail critical race theory in schools, and criminalize gender-affirming healthcare for transgender children.

Critical race theory is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the concept in which race is a socially constructed category ingrained in American law intended to maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites. It holds that U.S. society is inherently or systemically racist.

Patrick in February called for legislation to end tenure for new professors in Texas universities and make it more difficult for faculty to maintain tenure status after faculty members protested politicians' actions limiting how certain subjects are being taught.

"They don't understand that we in the legislature represent the people of Texas," Patrick said in a press conference, reports The Dallas Morning News. "We are those who distribute taxpayer dollars. We are the ones who pay their salaries; parents are the ones who pay tuition. Of course, we're going to have a say in what the curriculum is."

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