AUSTIN (KXAN) — Stefanie Turner carried three large boxes of cookies into the Texas Capitol Friday morning and delivered them to three state lawmakers who she said helped send a bill named for her late son to the governor’s desk.

“We just wanted to express our gratitude,” Turner said, smiling. “This couldn’t have happened without them and so we’re just grateful for them being willing to listen, to hear the problem that is happening and be part of the solution.”

The Texas House of Representatives signed off Thursday on a minor change the Senate made to House Bill 3908, initially introduced by Republican Rep. Terry Wilson of Georgetown. The legislation is now bound for Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk, where he’s expected to sign it into law.

It would require every school district in Texas to teach their students in sixth through 12th grades each year about preventing fentanyl abuse and making them aware of its deadly effects. It’s officially called Tucker’s Law because Turner’s son, Tucker, died at the family’s Leander home in 2021 from a fentanyl overdose.

“When I describe Tucker, I say he’s bigger than this Earth,” Turner said. “He sure is, and he’s continuing to be.”

The legislation also calls on the governor to choose a week to recognize as Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Week. During that time, Texas districts would have to hold events that “include age-appropriate instruction, including instruction on the prevention of the abuse of and addiction to fentanyl.”

“I know that if my son had this information when he was first offered a Xanax pill, he would be here today,” Turner said.

At the beginning of the legislative session, the governor named fentanyl as one of his emergency items for lawmakers to tackle, and now he has more than just Tucker’s Law awaiting his signature. Another bill related to overdose prevention in schools is now headed to Abbott’s desk, too.

Senate Bill 629, filed by Democratic Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio, directs school districts to keep Narcan, the medication used to reverse an opioid overdose, on hand in case of emergencies. Rep. James Talarico, D-Austin, sponsored the legislation in the House and talked Friday about how this legislation originated.

“Last year, a 13-year-old boy at a Texas middle school died from a fentanyl overdose, but now his school district requires Narcan and opioid overdose reversal medication to be on every campus in that district,” Talarico said in an interview with KXAN. “That policy has already saved five lives in the past year and so our bill will require Narcan on every campus across the state of Texas.”

Additionally, the legislature acted this week and sent House Bill 6 requiring murder charges be brought in cases of fentanyl poisoning as well as House Bill 3144, which would designate October as fentanyl poisoning awareness month, to the governor’s desk.

Failure of fentanyl testing strips legalization

However, not every fentanyl-related bill made it as far as these others this session. State representatives passed House Bill 362 in April, which would legalize fentanyl testing strips in Texas. The test strips cost roughly a dollar and can be used to test drugs, powders and pills for the presence of fentanyl, which is significantly more powerful than other drugs and can be fatal.

Under the Texas Controlled Substances Act, though, drug testing equipment is classified as drug paraphernalia, which currently makes it illegal for people to recreationally test.

The Senate never took up the bill in committee, which halted it from progressing in the upper chamber any further. The governor previously indicated he would sign the bill into law if it made its way to his desk.

Travis County Judge Andy Brown said he hoped lawmakers would make legalization happen this session, pointing out how he believed it would help reduce the number of local deaths caused by fentanyl. He said overdoses are now the number one cause of accidental death in Travis County, so he expressed his disappointment Friday about what happened in the Senate.

“Everybody that I have talked to on the Republican and Democratic side that actually deals with this issue at the local level believes that we need to legalize fentanyl test strips,” Brown said. “Just because somebody has an addiction or because somebody decides to try a drug one time, that should not be a death sentence. That’s in effect what is happening in Texas right now is that we have such a problem with fentanyl deaths — even in drugs where people think it’s one drug, but it ends up having fentanyl in it, that has killed and can kill people. We need to have fentanyl test strips made legal in Texas so that people can can use them legally.”

A year ago, Travis County leaders declared a public health crisis in response to a growing number of drug overdose deaths that have been reported in Central Texas, which reflected a national trend.

This year’s regular legislative session will end Monday.