AUSTIN, Texas — For the second time in a week, Democratic lawmakers in the Texas House successfully delayed debate on Senate Bill 14, which would ban transgender-related care for minors.
Senate Bill 14 would ban doctors from treating transgender youth with puberty blockers and hormone therapies. It would also prohibit minors from getting transition-related surgeries.
Under the bill, minors already accessing treatments like puberty blockers and hormone therapy would have to be “weaned off” in a safe and “medically appropriate” manner.
During the Friday debate, some lawmakers quickly raised three points of order, which is procedural questioning that aims to delay or kill legislation on a technicality.
Democratic Rep. Mary Gonzalez raised a third point of order. After nearly one hour, it was withdrawn, and Rep. Staphanie Klick motioned to send the bill back to the House Public Health Committee. This means that Gonzalez's point of order was seemingly effective. Gonzalez was also behind the point of order that delayed the Tuesday debate.
The interruptions stopped Republican Rep. Tom Oliverson, SB 14’s key sponsor in the House, from introducing the bill on the chamber floor.
The House Committee on Public Health convened on Friday as the House was still in session. The committee voted 6-4 to advance the bill, again, to the chamber floor. Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Republican who chairs the Calendars Committee, said in a tweet that the bill will be “heard next week.” He insisted the bill would "not be watered down."
The bill sparked protests that led to altercations with state police, and two arrests, earlier this week. Before the House tried to start debate on the bill Friday, House Speaker Dade Phelan said he welcomes guests in the gallery but stated disruptions would not be tolerated.
Upon news of the bill returning to the House committee, a mix of supporters of the bill, wearing red shirts with the words “save Texas kids," as well as those opposed to the bill holding LGBTQ+ positive signs, began to clear the gallery.
The Senate has already passed a version of the bill and a majority of Texas House members support the legislation. If the bill becomes law, Texas will join over a dozen states in restricting transition-related care for minors.