AUSTIN, Texas -- A controversial bill that critics say openly discriminates against potential foster parents is now headed to the Senate.
The Texas House of Representatives on Wednesday approved House Bill 3859 by state Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) which protects a faith-based agency's ability to place children in homes based on the group's "sincerely held religious beliefs."
But critics say they oppose giving taxpayer dollars to agencies that openly discriminate against, and don't assign children to foster parents with different beliefs. And they are concerned potential Jewish, Muslim, atheist and LGBT foster families will be further discriminated against.
"We've prioritized the provider's sincerely held religious beliefs, which may result in discrimination," said Representative Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie). "And they may be the winner in this equation but the child is the loser."
But Frank argues these groups are already allowed to work with the state to place children in homes and that his bill just protects them.
"At the end of the day, what we're trying to get is more homes," said Frank. "And I don't think this prevents more homes from coming from any sector of society from coming to the table."
As the House passes this bill to the Senate, the Senate is sending a controversial bill to the House.
Senators gave final approval to a bill that could allow the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to disqualify transgender athletes from competing. Senate Bill 2095 amends a provision in UIL rules that lets transgender athletes undergoing hormone therapy compete in sporting events. SB2095 will let the UIL deem those students ineligible if there are safety and "fair play" concerns.