By ROBYN H. JIMENEZ
The Dallas Examiner
In an answer to the memo Gov. Greg Abbott sent out to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion programs, Republicans have filed several bills, including House Bill 3164 and House Bill 5140.
HB 3164 that would prohibit any diversity, equity and inclusion office from considering race, sex, color or ethnicity in admissions and hiring processes. It also bans funding or conducting trainings, programs or activities designed or implemented in reference to race, color, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. It also prohibits “promoting a particular, widely contested opinion regarding unconscious or implicit bias, cultural appropriation, allyship, transgender ideology, microaggressions, group marginalization, antiracism, systemic oppression, social justice, intersectionality, neo-pronouns, heteronormativity, disparate impact, gender theory, racial or sexual privilege or other closely related concepts.”
The bill specifically stated that the higher education institutions could no longer maintain or establish a DEI office or contract with a third party to provide DEI services.
The bill was authored by Rep. Carl Tepper, R-Lubbock, and co-authored by Reps. Candace Thweatt Noble, R-Murphy; Jacey Ray Jetton, R-Fort Katy; Jared Patterson, R-Frisco; and Giovanni Capriglione, R-Keller. It was introduced to the House March 15 and has been referred to the Higher Education committee.
HB 5140 would make it illegal to consider race or ethnicity as a factor when hiring an employee or contractor for a government position, as well as other governmental functions and higher education admissions. HB 5140 was written by Rep. Briscoe Cane, R-Deer Park, who was placed on “The Worst Legislators of 2017” list in Texas Monthly.
The partisan bill was introduced to the House March 10 and referred to State Affairs March 24. To date, it has no sponsors or funders. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t garner support.
“House Bill 5140, SB 17 and SB 2313 if passed will eliminate efforts for inclusion of minorities in state and local government codes and programs for contracts, jobs and college admissions, declared Margo J. Posey, president and CEO of the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council.
“We must unite in stopping HB 5140. This bill, SB 17 and SB 2313, effects and impacts your business and the future of your business.”
Senate Bill 17 and Senate Bill 2313 were also designed to eliminate DEI in Texas higher education institutions, including but not limited to any public technical institute, medical school, dental school, junior college, college and university.
SB 17, introduced to the House March 13, would ban higher education institutions from the use or statements of DEI for enrollment or employment.
A portion of the bill stated, “An institution of higher education may not establish or maintain a diversity, equity and inclusion office or hire or assign an employee of the institution or contract with a third party, to perform the duties of a diversity, equity and inclusion office.”
Another section prohibited higher education institution from requiring students, employees and employment applicants to participate in training on diversity, equity, inclusion, bias, oppression, gender identity or any relative training as a condition of admission, enrollment, graduation, employment, promotion or participation of any function.
The partisan bill was authored by Sen. Charles Creighton, R-Conroe, co-sponsors included Sens. Donna Campbell, Phil King, Lois Kolkhorst, Mayes Middleton, Tan Parker, Angela Paxton, Charles Schwertner and Drew Springer.
SB 2313 would prohibit “institutions of higher education from requiring diversity training as a condition for enrollment or registration.… beginning with the 2023-2024 academic year.”
Authored by Republican Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, this bill was introduced March 22 with no sponsors.
Any bills that receive a two-thirds vote from all members of the House, could take effect immediately. Otherwise, they may take effect Sept. 1. However, in HB 5140, the section repealing Section 51.803(k) of the Education Code would take effect Jan. 1, 2024.
“There has been a rampant increase of attacks on DEI this session in the form of various anti-DEI bills filed by legislators in Austin. As a result of this, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, in conjunction with Sen. Royce West, Vice Chair [of the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee] Rep. Gervin-Hawkins and Rep. Cole, is working to recruit a reserve of diverse, intersectional Texans from all corners of our great state who can testify when these bills are referred to the Higher Education committee this session,” the Texas Legislative Black Caucus wrote in a public notice.
The notice also invited the public to help protect DEI initiatives in Texas and sign up for updates at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScd_8tVGFtsSZJapAf_VEiOdSOjqOsWLllfrwXT19PabRPlUw/viewform.