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Texas politics and its future

A+protestor+lies+down+on+the+ground+during+a+Black+Lives+Matter+protest+May+31%2C+2020.+
Alberto Silva Fernandez
A protestor lies down on the ground during a Black Lives Matter protest May 31, 2020.

Midterm elections are around the corner and the future of Texas politics lies in the hands of citizens with the right and power to elect candidates who speak to their needs and political views.   

Texas voters will not vote for U.S. senators or the White House in the upcoming elections. Therefore, voters will only see one congressional race on their ballots.   

At the state level, Texans will vote for governor, lieutenant governor, Texas attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and one of the seats on the Texas Railroad Commission.  

Other statewide races include three seats on the Texas Supreme Court and three seats on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. El Pasoans will vote for the county judge and district representatives at the city and county levels.  

Midterm elections are 34 days away. Recent events and laws have caused many controversies statewide, including gender affirmation, immigration, reproductive rights, gun control and education that could shape the election results.   

Gender-Affirming Care   

Gender-affirming care is medical care to help a person transition from their assigned gender at birth to the gender they identify with.   

Since February, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an order in which the Department of Family and Protective Services began investigating parents for helping provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children.  

Parents could be criminally charged with child abuse and their transgender children could be placed in foster care.   

Several LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, like Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), have filed a lawsuit in the Texas State Court on behalf of the affected families, claiming that gender-affirming care is medically necessary. Since Sept. 16, a judge in Austin has temporarily stopped the state investigations on families.   

“Loving and affirming your child and empowering them to be themselves is the highest calling of any parent, no matter your child’s gender,” PFLAG wrote on Twitter.   

Immigration   

Abbott launched Operation Lone Star in response to Biden’s administration’s attempt to end Title 42 and has been busing migrants to Chicago, New York City, Washington D.C., and most recently, outside of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence.   

“Texas has bused over 11,000 migrants to sanctuary cities,” Abbott said. “Until the Biden-Harris administration stops denying the border crisis they’ve created, Texas will continue bringing the border to their front door.”   

Due to an overflow in local shelters, El Paso leaders have been forced to bus migrants to New York City or release migrants to the streets.   

According to an article by El Paso Matters, the El Paso city government spends $300,000 daily on migrant response. According to the Texas Tribune, data released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protections show migrant encounters at the border are higher today than before Operation Lone Star began.   

Beto O’Rourke responded to Abbott’s immigration response on the Jimmy Kimmel show by saying, “It isn’t doing anything for them. It isn’t doing anything for us. It is not addressing the underlying challenges we have in terms of our immigration system.”   

Reproductive Rights   

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the Texas trigger law came into effect Aug. 25.   

Texas’ trigger law criminalizes abortion since fertilization unless the patient faces a life-threatening condition from the pregnancy, with no exception for rape or incest. Violators can face up to life in prison or a penalty of $100,000.   

Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health plans must provide birth control and family planning counseling at no extra cost.   

A judge in Texas will review the case Kelley v. Becerra, which threatens the requirement for most health plans to provide coverage for preventive care. While birth control is still legal, it is not widely available for low-income residents.   

Gun Control   

Almost five months after the Uvalde shooting at Robb Elementary School and three years after the Walmart shooting in El Paso, gun control policies continues to be a major topic among politicians.   

In Texas, anyone older than 18 years old can buy a firearm. Since September 2021, people 21 and over no longer need a state-issued license to carry firearms outside their houses or vehicles.  

“Every Texan needs to know that Greg Abbott made us less safe by ignoring law enforcement and allowing people to carry guns in public without a background check, training or permit,” O’Rourke said.  

A Texas judge ruled Sept. 19, that people under felony indictment have the right to purchase guns under the Second Amendment.  

Since 2016, individuals with a Texas concealed handgun license have been allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus.  

Education   

In 2021, Abbott signed the Critical Race Theory bill, which prevents teachers from teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 public schools. Teachers are no longer required to teach specific topics of women’s rights, civil rights and Native American history.   

According to a new analysis released by PEN America, Texas has banned over 800 books about slavery, sexual abuse, puberty, identity, sexuality, racial experiences, and  LGBTQ+ experiences more than any other state.   

With election day fast approaching, these are some of the topics that should be looked into before deciding on who to vote for.  

Victoria Rivas is a guest contributor and may be reached at [email protected]; @VicRivas_18 on Twitter. 

 

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About the Contributors
Victoria Rivas
Victoria Rivas is a bilingual student majoring in Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Spanish at the University of Texas at El Paso. She writes stories about the borderland for Borderzine and The Prospector. She plans on joining the journalism field and is interested in covering news, investigative journalism, public affairs, and entertainment.
Alberto Silva Fernandez
Alberto Silva Fernandez, Contributor/Photographer
Alberto Silva Fernandez is a sophomore, majoring in Multimedia Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a photographer for The Prospector and freelances covering the borderland. When he isn’t covering events Albert likes to study politics, play video games, and listen to music.
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Texas politics and its future