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House lawmakers get security after hearing teacher tenure bill

A day after passing the Senate, the bitter battle on the issue of teacher tenure came to the House on Thursday and the meeting ended with sergeant-at-arms forming a barrier at the front of the committee room to protect lawmakers.

As time expired at the House PreK-12, Chairwoman Anitere Flores and Rep. Will Weatherford forced a vote on the tenure bill by cutting off debate, ignoring amendments and further public testimony. Rep. Marty Kiar, a Democrat and author of the amendments, objected fervently and tried using a procedural move to delay the bill. But Flores ignored him, prompting an outcry from Kiar and a warning from Flores that she would call security if the audience (and possibly Kiar) didn't respect decorum. The bill passed.

The packed committee room was largely hostile to the legislation, given that hundreds of public school teachers and students rallied outside the Capitol today. At the abrupt end of the meeting, a handful of security guards stood in front of the committee's dais like guards.