School security will be Texas Senate’s top priority

June 15, 2018 GMT

SAN ANTONIO — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick left no doubt that school safety will be the top priority of the Texas Senate when it next meets in 2019.

At the Republican Party of Texas Convention, the Houston area Republican said after the shooting at Santa Fe High School, it is clear what the most important topic is.

“School security will be our number one issue,” Patrick said as thousands of Republican activists applauded.

Patrick said he doesn’t know exactly what the Senate bill will look like in the end, but stressed topics like arming teachers in schools and limiting school entrances.

“We will do everything we can to secure our schools,” Patrick said.

Not on the table: gun control.

Patrick emphasized that the shootings in Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs should not be an opening for taking away peoples right to carry a gun.

“The gun is not the problem,” Patrick said.

Patrick also said tax reform and better pay for teachers will be high on his list of priorities.

Patrick did not talk about passing a bathroom bill, but vociferously defended previous efforts to pass the legislation. In 2017 during the regular session and a special session, the Texas Senate passed bills that would have barred people from using a bathroom that did not correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Patrick and his supporters have called it an attempt to protect women and children in bathrooms and locker rooms from predators. Critics have countered that the legislation is discriminatory against people who are transgender.

While it passed the Senate, it never made it to a vote in the Texas House, where House Speaker Joe Straus, a San Antonio Republican, opposed the legislation.

Patrick said results from the Republican Party Primary shows the Senate was right to push the issue. In the primary, 90 percent of the 1.5 million voters in the primary supported barring men from women’s bathrooms, he said.