Texas Republican files bill to let pregnant women use HOV lane by counting fetus as passenger

The bill was introduced by a conservative firebrand once labeled one of Texas' 'worst legislators.'

State Rep. Briscoe Cain's political brand is more based on being a provocateur than a serious legislator. - Twitter / BriscoeCain
Twitter / BriscoeCain
State Rep. Briscoe Cain's political brand is more based on being a provocateur than a serious legislator.
Under a bill filed by a GOP state lawmaker known more for his provocations than his legislative record, pregnant Texans would be able to drive in the high occupancy vehicle lane by claiming their fetus as the second person in their car.

House Bill 521, filed Monday by Texas Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, would allow pregnant drivers to use the HOV lane "regardless of whether the vehicle is occupied by a passenger other than the operator's unborn child."

Branded one of the state's "worst legislators" by Texas Monthly, Cain made his name in the Lege by talking smack and attempting to provoke Democrats. In 2019, he grabbed headlines by threatening to shoot Beto O'Rourke if the then-presidential candidate tried to take away his guns.

Cain's new bill follows an incident earlier this year when pregnant Plano woman Brandy Bottone got a ticket for using the HOV lane. She argued that Texas' new anti-abortion laws meant she could use the lane since her unborn child was legally a person, according to NBC News.

Bottone's traffic ticket was later dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney's office.

Cain's proposal was one of more than 800 filed Monday before the legislature's new session, which is set to begin in January. A large share of those filed by GOP lawmakers look to push further right on culture war issues, including restrictions on abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.

Given his record, it's little surprise to see Cain joining in fray — whether or not his bill is likely to gain any traction.

Meanwhile, the Republican House member has pledged to introduce other pro-life bills ahead of the session, including one that would bar corporations who offer to pay for abortion services in other states from doing business in Texas.

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