What was supposed to have been dead when HB 360 ended its journey last week has been revived and approved as an amendment to SB 215. By a vote of 78-67, the House approved Rep. Matt Krause's bill as an amendment, though it should be noted the opposition was bipartisan with 13 Republicans voting no. The support consisted of all Republicans and one Democrat, Ryan Guillen.
The amendment would prohibit Texas universities from requiring student organizations to follow university-wide non-discrimination policies. In the name of freedom of speech, association, and to “promote diversity of thought and the marketplace of ideas” on college campuses, the Krause Amendment effectively nullifies non-discrimination policies– policies intended in part to create a safe learning environment where everyone's ideas are allowed to be shared in the first place.
If the law to which this amendment is attached becomes law, campus organizations will be able to discriminate based on race, religion, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status, gender, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, and they will be able to use taxpayer resources to do it.
This issue has been a pet project of Rep. Krause who two years ago defended 14-year-old Dakota Ary, who remarks about homosexuality resulted in a suspension and investigation into the teacher who was cleared as the target of the student's harassment. It's the sort of typical “reverse discrimination” legislative reaction one might expect from Republicans, but maybe not a majority in the Texas House.
Equality Texas is actively monitoring the legislation and released the following via email.
The Krause amendment was one of 15 amendments added by the House to Senate Bill 215. It is likely that a conference committee will be needed to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of SB 215. Equality Texas will be actively engaged throughout that process working to strip the Krause amendment from the bill's final version.
We will keep you apprised of this process as it unfolds.