Critical race theory bill could now be headed to Gov. Abbott's desk after Senate revives it

A controversial bill that would limit how teachers can discuss racism and current events in the classroom was just one step from the governor's desk, and then it looked like the bill wouldn't pass at all, but the Texas Senate amended its changes to try and get it back on track.

House Bill 3979 was passed out of the Senate stripping all of the amendments it added. 

Senate Republicans are trying to revive this bill and move fast. The Senate sent the bill back to the House for final approval before Monday.

This all happened because earlier on Friday, House Democrats tried to block the bill by raising a point of order or a violation of procedure.

Friday afternoon, HB 3979, also known as the critical race theory bill, was abruptly halted in the House after Democrats brought a procedural violation to the floor’s attention. 

The bill says teachers "can’t be forced to discuss current events."

And if they do, they "can’t give deference to any one perspective."

It was widely panned by educators in Texas, but it’s also fired up parents who support the bill.

And it’s a topic that’s become a platform for successful school board campaigns in North Texas.

SMU political science professor Cal Jillson explained how the bill was stalled. 

"The elements of the Senate bill were read to the House, and the question was, is that legitimate or is that out of order? It was ruled by the House it was out of order," he said. 

On top of several new additions the Senate put in, some language from the initial House version was removed.

That included an amendment requiring schools teach that white supremacy is wrong.

Representative James Talarico, from Round Rock, questioned why requirements that students learn about historical women and people of color were removed.

"By my count, the new version from the Senate, again, this is not the version we passed from the House, it removes nine historical figures of color and six females of historical figure. Which means all mentions of people of color or woman have been removed from this bill," he said. 

"In a sense, people threw up their hands. Democrats and a number of Republicans said this is not in our interest to struggle to get something done which will boomerang on us anyway," Jillson explained. 

The bill, now back at the Senate, must pass both chambers in less than 72 hours, a task Jillson said is highly unlikely. 

"The phrase that people use is performative politics. This is more a performance than actual substance," Jillson added. "Democrats usually have little to celebrate in the Texas legislature, so when they can block a conservative bill like this, it’s a good day’s work."

Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) tried to issue his own point of order in the Senate, but it was overruled. 

All of this is taking place on a Friday night and on a holiday weekend with the session ending on Monday. 

It is now in the hands of the House as it was initially passed. We’ll see if they get to it before time runs out.