It’s easy to pay close attention to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton these days. He pretty much commands it with a regular stream of lawsuits against the president and the same seemingly never-ending legal troubles as Paxton. But the McKinney resident isn’t the only one in his family trying to make the Lone Star State even more conservative than it already is.
State Senator Angela Paxton, the attorney general’s wife of over 30 years, represents District 8, which includes McKinney and Allen. She tweeted Sunday 12 March: “I undertake to see our priorities transformed into law”. In the same post he included a link to his more than 70 bills and resolutions.
There aren’t many surprises to discover among the batch, but don’t confuse that with the lack of juicy red meat. Many of the recently favored Republican hot buttons are being pushed by Paxton papers. In her latest newsletter the Senator gives SB 13, a bill designed to control the content of school libraries, a prominent place at the top of the page.
That bill includes the implementation of “local school library advisory councils and parental rights regarding public school library catalogs,” according to the filing. Predictably, parental rights and schools also play a starring role in Angela Paxton’s dozens of bills introduced during the current legislative session in Austin.
Senate Bill 2483 aims to establish an education savings account, which would finally usher Texas into the era of school coupons. More than ever, Governor Greg Abbott has made what he called “parental choice” a priority, and conservative lawmakers, including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, have formed a line of support behind him.
Critics, including many Democratic lawmakers and members of the Texas State Board of Education, suggest that a voucher-like program in Texas will hurt public school funding. There is also reason to think that families in rural areas, where the median income is lower than in many suburbs, will not be served fairly through an Education Savings Account. Regardless, Republicans have largely supported the idea that parents can use state funds for private education.
And what would a Republican slate of bills be without an attempt to end gender-affirming child welfare? SB 14 states, “The child health plan may not provide coverage for services prohibited by Section 161.702 that are intended to transfer a child’s biological sex as determined by the child’s sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous profiles.” The general conservative position involving gender-affirming care is not in line with what some prominent members of the medical community believe about it.
“The Paxtons both seem keen to blur the lines between church and state.”
tweet this Filed March 6, joint Senate Resolution 76 seeks to “repeal the constitutional provision prohibiting the appropriation of state money or property for the benefit of any religious or theological sect, society, or seminary.” The joint resolution calls to mind one of several recent lawsuits that Paxton AG announced not long ago against the Biden administration.
The Paxtons both seem keen to blur the lines between church and state, judging by the contents of the joint resolution and the lawsuit. With the lawsuit, Ken Paxton’s goal is to allow religious and faith-based adoption and foster care services to still raise federal funds, while preventing same-sex couples from adopting a child through those services.
When asked for comment, a representative in Senator Angela Paxton’s office asked the Observer to send our questions by email. Senator Paxton has not responded to the questions we have presented.
Angela Paxton won re-election in November 2022; Her current term ends in 2025. If approved, the proposed constitutional amendment outlined in SJR 76 will be voted on in November 2023.