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Texas Lawmaker Challenges Domestic Partner Benefits
It's a battle between Texas Lawmaker Rep. Drew Springer and gay rights activists -- but caught in the middle is the Pflugerville Independent School District. The district recently became the first district to approve benefits for domestic partners, including same sex couples.
That benefit is now under fire by Rep. Springer out of Muenster, a district more than 250 miles away. He's proposed HB 1568 -- a bill that reduces a school districts healthcare funding by 7.5 percent if they offer domestic partner benefits to anyone other than an employee or a dependent of an employee.
We went to the capitol to talk to Representative Springer, inside his office his chief of staff told us he wasn't available. In a press release on his website he said: "our tax-dollars are for educating kids, not for enacting policies that attempt to get the state to recognize homosexual relationships."
It's legislation that has upset many gay rights groups. "It's clearly a ridiculous action," says Jimmy Flannigan, the president of the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. He says, "This is about access to health care."
We also tried to talk with the Pflugerville Independent School District. In the past they have always been reluctant to talk about politics and have said their decision to offer domestic partner benefits made financial sense because it only costs the individual paying for the benefit.
In a statement to KEYE TV they said they are "watching all proposed legislation that could impact Texas public schools."
By Lydia Pantazes