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"Spanking" Bill Passes After Being Reconsidered

A controversial bill that would require parental permission before school administrators are allowed to paddle unruly public school children passed the House today after failing on Wednesday.

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A controversial bill that would require parental permission before school administrators are allowed to paddle unruly public school children passed the House today after failing on Wednesday.

A motion to reconsider HB 359 by state Rep. Alma Allen, D-Houston, was made by Rep. Jose Aliseda, R-Beeville, who originally voted against the measure. It passed today on an 87-to-56 vote after failing 69 to 73 Wednesday. It passed after an amendment by state Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, was adopted that would exclude counties with a population of less than 50,000. An amendment by state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, which would allow parents to forbid paddling of their children if they submit a written statement in opposition before the school year begins, was also adopted.

As they were Wednesday, Republican lawmakers were divided on the issue.

State Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, urged members to vote against the measure, saying it reeked of government takeover.

But state Rep. Diane Patrick, R-Arlington, a former school board member, said the bill actually strengthened local control by giving districts the freedom to choose how to discipline students.

“It does, in fact, allow for school boards to determine to use corporal punishment,” she said.

Like he did Wednesday, state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, spoke in opposition to the bill, saying lawmakers might as well tell coaches “they can’t allow wind sprints” during physical education anymore.

Before the vote state Rep. Armando Martinez, D-Weslaco offered a bit of comic relief.

“Mr. Zedler, do you like getting spanked?” he asked.

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