CONCEALED CARRY ON CAMPUS PASSES SENATE
(AUSTIN) — Texans with a license to carry a concealed handgun could do so on college campuses and in college buildings under a bill approved by the Senate on Monday. The vehicle for the measure came as an amendment by San Antonio Senator Jeff Wentworth to a public and higher education fiscal matters bill before the Senate. Wentworth's stand-alone bill was blocked by opponents, but a lower vote threshold for amendments opened the door for this provision.
Under the amendment, the current ban on carrying concealed weapons inside buildings on public universities would be lifted. Current law requires that an individual be 21 years old and complete a training course before receiving a concealed carry license. The fiscal matters bill, SB 1581 by Bryan Senator Steve Ogden, will now head to the House for consideration. Once there, House members can strip the amendment, leave it intact, or modify the provision.
Also Monday, the Senate took what will likely be the final vote on the Voter I.D. bill. This issue was deemed an emergency by Governor Rick Perry at the beginning of the session, fast-tracking related legislation and exempting it from a number of procedural hurdles. Conference committee members, five senators and five representatives, have been trying to reconcile the two versions of the bill. The major change approved by the Senate Monday would create a new I.D. card expressly for the purposes of meeting the new requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls before voting. This card would be offered free of charge by the state. Should the House approve the conference committee report, the bill would go to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, May 10 at 8 a.m. to consider the local and uncontested calendar, and will meet in general session Tuesday at 11 a.m.