The Texas House of Representatives will take up a sweeping education omnibus package on Friday, including billions of dollars in public education investments and a plan to allocate taxpayer money toward private education, in what could be a dramatic climax to several months of lobbying for school choice.
The elephant in the room is it’s still not entirely clear whether or not the package, House Bill 1, has the support to pass the Texas House. A coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans have, historically, been opposed to such policies and seem inclined to continue their opposition on Friday.
It’s rare that a bill should make it to the House floor without a strong indication that it should pass; put differently, lawmakers are cautious to have a public vote that’s not guaranteed to pass, so as not to risk a public failure for priority legislation.
“One of the biggest clichés in the legislature is ‘one person is playing checkers and the more sophisticated person is playing chess,'” James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project, said. “I think what we’re really seeing now is a little bit more of a poker game, where there are chips being thrown in the pot, and people are deciding whether they’re going to fold, see the bet, or raise.”