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Marijuana, pro-LGBTQ bills died at the Texas Legislature. They’ll be back. (Ep. 13)

Marijuana, pro-LGBTQ bills died at the Texas Legislature. They’ll be back. (Ep. 13)

How do we look? You look great. Thank you. You look good, really great. Good answer. Yeah. Legislatures don’t deal with problems entirely
in 140 days. It often takes more than one session, several
sessions. Everything is a long game. This is a marathon and not a sprint. You have to figure that you’re going to be
going after this issue again and again and again and again to get it right. Every institution has its metrics for success. You’d be wrong to think that the only metric
for success at the Legislature is, “Did a bill pass?” It’s about whether that issue finds its way
into the conversation going on in the building. Two big issues that are in play right now
are marijuana and issues related to nondiscrimination. What has happened in the 86th legislative
session is that the broad set of policy proposals around marijuana have migrated from the fringe
to the mainstream. The LGBTQ portfolio of issues has migrated
to the mainstream. Both of those issues are now teed up to be
taken more seriously, be addressed more directly in the 87th session, and that has to be defined
as progress. Could it finally happen statewide? Lesser penalties for marijuana possession? Rep. Jim Moody filed for the third session
now, a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. People who were found to possess small amounts
of marijuana, they would’ve gotten a fine as opposed to getting a criminal Class B misdemeanor. As you’re here longer, you understand that
when you’re trying to create a sea change, it takes multiple sessions. The first vote this bill ever got in committee,
in 2015, was actually voted down. So this session, we’ve come a long way. There being 103 ayes and 42 nays. The bill is finally passed. It certainly was very heartening to see the
body turn in what is a relatively short period of time. His bill passed out of the Texas House. Not a decrim one, but one that just lessened
the criminal penalties for Texans found to possess small amounts of the drug and then
less than 24 hours later, Dan Patrick gets on Twitter and is like, “This bill is dead
in the Senate.” I worry about law enforcement coming and kicking
the door down to my house and arresting me. I mean, why would they do that? We’re lawful homeowners, taxpayers, military
veterans, voters. But in Texas, we’re criminals. That’s why these laws need to change. What I use medical marijuana for is severe
PTSD symptoms and chronic pain. I treat all my symptoms with cannabis now. I’m a disabled vet. I can’t work because of my pain, but if I
had this plant, I could go back to school. Why is that not important to these people? There are several other marijuana efforts
underway this session, including a couple bills to expand its medicinal use. Many Texans, especially veterans, say they’re
breaking the law to self-medicate. It takes five sessions to really get your
good bill passed. This is my fourth session, and we’re not going
to stop advocating until we get the medical marijuana program that we need in Texas. When my father asked me what I was working
on this time and I said, “Well, I filed a bill to legalize industrial hemp.” It was a long, long silence on the phone. Hemp is a cousin of the marijuana plant, but
it contains low levels of THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that
gets you high. This is either the third or fourth session
that legalization of industrial hemp has been attempted, and it’s kind of, each session
has moved a little bit further in the process. But there was a lot of reluctance about, OK,
what are we doing here? How far are we taking this? Are we legalizing marijuana? But there’s been a lot more education about
what industrial hemp is and what it’s not. Hemp is a unique plant. It can be utilized from root to the tip and
will open doors to new products, including automotive parts, hempcrete, fiber, clothing,
construction material and CBD oil. And then the other big issue, quite candidly,
was at the federal level. Well, the latest farm bill legalized industrial
hemp as a crop plant, sparking interest for a number of producers looking to capitalize
on the new commodity. We’ve never really gotten into hemp because
we couldn’t. There’s seven states, including Texas, where
it’s still considered a narcotic. What my bill does is it says that any type
of hemp product that is 0.3% or less of THC, then it can be grown in Texas. To the farming community, this is a major
piece of legislation. Any major piece of legislation is, generally
speaking, requires a long-game approach to it. If it was a football field, we’ve got it on
the two yard line, about the punch it across the goal line. And it looks like that will happen. Good morning. What an exciting day. One of my favorite quotes is a quote that
we commonly use in our community that says, “If you’re not at the table, then you’re
on the menu.” If you would have told me when I came in as
a legislator in 2013, that we now have a caucus just a few years later, I probably would’ve
never believed you. This year for the first time, five out women
in the Texas House came together to form the LGBTQ Caucus. Three of the women who are part of the group
are freshmen. The fact that we have an LGBT Caucus this
session is a huge sign of the times, and I think it really demonstrates that Texans don’t
want our Legislature focusing on hate. The caucus was really intentional in making
sure that we weren’t just defined by fighting anti-LGBT legislation, but also proposing
policies that were important for Texas and LGBTQ Texans. Rep. Celia Israel is serving her third session
in the Texas House, and every session she’s served, she’s filed the same bill that would
outlaw so-called conversion therapy for gay minors. But this is the first year that that bill
even got a hearing. Conversion therapy refers to counseling aimed
at eliminating or suppressing the sexual orientation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender
individuals. That bill getting a hearing was entirely the
result of the 2018 elections. We have a new speaker who’s put Democrats
at the helm of powerful committees. We have a Democrat chairing the Public Health
Committee, Senfonia Thompson, who set that bill for a hearing. That couldn’t have happened two years ago. The bill looks to be dead. It didn’t get passed by the House before a
deadline, but she said that just having the hearing was a major victory. It doesn’t mean passing a bill. It means having a significant hearing to make
a difference in a child’s life. It means so much. It’s just, it feels wonderful. The conversion therapy bill was only one sort
of proactive gay rights piece of legislation that got its first hearing this year. All of those bills made it further this year
than they have in years past. Chair lays out on second reading House Bill
3172. LGBTQ lawmakers and advocates are always sort
of on offense and on defense in Texas. HB 3172 by Krause, relating to the protection
of religious beliefs and moral convictions, including beliefs and convictions regarding
marriage. Rep. Matt Krause, a Republican of Fort Worth,
had filed what he calls a religious liberty bill. It basically just says the government can’t
discriminate against you based on your affiliation with or membership in a religious organization,
but LGBTQ lawmakers and advocates were really concerned that if this bill hit the floor,
it could become kind of a Christmas tree for discriminatory amendments. So our caucus, obviously that was a priority
bill for us to focus on, and we collectively worked really, really hard to come up with
a multilevel strategy approach to try to defeat that bill. Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr. Speaker? Mrs. Johnson, for what purpose? I rise under a point of order. Julie Johnson hit it with what’s called a
point of order, sort of a procedural mechanism that can kill a bill in its tracks. The point of order is well taken and sustained. The House speaker sustained, and that effectively
killed the bill just hours before the midnight deadline in the House. We had to stay on point, and we were able
to be successful. And I’m so happy about that. So days after, it was revived in the Texas
Senate and sort of put on a fast track. You have two ways of looking at things. You can either be hopeful at the change you
see or disappointed at how far it has yet to go. I am counting this session as a win. Think where we were two years ago. The “bathroom bill” dominated all the
oxygen in the space during session. We aren’t even having those conversations. They’re very minimal. And so while we may not be advancing positive
pieces of legislation, the fact that we aren’t regressing is really a big win. And while obviously discrimination still exists,
what now also exists is optimism. Let me get y’all’s pic. Sometimes the media people tell me, “Nobody
ever takes our pic.” All right, one, two three. One, two, three, and we’re going to put this
all over our social media, so.

5 comments on “Marijuana, pro-LGBTQ bills died at the Texas Legislature. They’ll be back. (Ep. 13)

  1. I think the likes for this video proves that people are for the pro-marijuana message in this news broadcast
    (there are 298 views on this video rn. 17 people have liked this video, and only 1 has disliked)

  2. Colorado: "Let's let everyday American citizens open shop and earn a living rather than forcing our citizens to buy from sketchy dealers."
    Texas: "Let's build a bunch of Prisons and use marijuana(which kills nobody, unlike cops) as a method of imprisoning half our citizens so prison owners and big pharmaceutical industries can continue to thrive."

  3. the pain is coming to the swamp in Texas. the storm has arrived. they have nowhere to hide. we have it all thanks to the Q team and Potus. WWG1WGA keep big pharma out of the pockets of Texas government.

  4. Thank you David Bass, Jason Walker, April Martinez, for making a stand, being a truther, and thank you for your service. keep big pharma out of Texas government. WWG1WGA

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