5:21PM CST UPDATE: It’s now apparent that the primary culprit behind the fact that lawmakers failed to show up for the vote was none other than Republican Speaker of the House Joe Straus, who labeled the bill “nothing more than an ill-advised publicity stunt,” despite the fact that it merely sought to reinforce language already present in the 4th amendment. The Texas Tribune reports that Straus approached the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. David Simpson earlier this week and insisted that language pertaining to “private parts” be removed from the legislation altogether, which would have completely gutted the bill.
As Simpson has emphasized, this bill is far from symbolic, it’s specific in its remit to “expand the federal definition of “official oppression” to prohibit federal employees from improperly touching a person’ s private areas”.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who to his credit doesn’t appear to be acting as a roadblock for the bill this time around, released a statement this afternoon saying that the Senate would try to pass the bill out of committee on Monday.