Religious Liberty Legislation
- On Wednesday, several legislators held a press conference to roll out a package of "Religious Liberty Legislation." Attending the press conference were Senators Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), and Representatives Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), Briscoe Cain (R-Houston), Dan Flynn (R-Van), Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving), Scott Sanford (R-McKinney), Matt Schaeffer (R-Tyler), and Mike Schofield (R-Katy). Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values said, The religious freedom bills supported by the group include:
- SB 522 by Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) and HB 1813 by Dan Flynn (R-Van) - Religious Freedom for County Clerks/Justices of the Peace;
- SB 893 by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and HB 1923 by Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) - First Amendment Defense Act;
- SB 892 by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) - Religious Freedom Protection for Child Welfare Providers;
- SB 651 by Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) - Religious Freedom for Occupational License Holders;
- HB 421 by Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) - Church Security Protection Act;
- HB 1805 by Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) - Religious Freedom Protection for Child Welfare Providers;
- HB 522 by Mike Schofield (R-Katy) - Religious Freedom Protection for Homeowners Displays;
- SB 24 by Joan Huffman (R-Houston) Religious Freedom Protection for Pastor Sermons; and
- HB 428 by Phil King (R-Weatherford) Religious Freedom for College Campus Organizations.
In response, theTexas Freedom Network
(TFN) Kathy Mission TFN spokesperson said, "Today various state lawmakers joined an anti-LGBT political group at a Texas Capitol press conference touting legislation that allows individuals and businesses to refuse to obey anti-discrimination laws. Kathy mission's comments:
- "These bills radically redefine religious freedom to mean something it never has and never should. They would allow someone, even a government official whose salary is funded by taxpayers, to use religion to discriminate against and harm other people. "
- "Moreover, they open the door to allowing individuals and businesses to misuse religion as an excuse to refuse to obey laws that everyone else has to follow. Religion should never be used as a weapon to divide us, but these lawmakers are attempting to do just that."
- On Thursday, Representative Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) filed
, which would amend the Texas Election Code to allow primary voters to select candidates regardless of party. It would establish "open primaries" for all statewide and federal elections, and would advance the top two vote getters to the general election, regardless of party. HB 1996 would amend the Texas Election Code, which currently separates primary candidates by party affiliation and restricts voters' freedoms by requiring them to vote for only one party's candidates.
- On Monday, Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) filed SB 10 and Representative Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood filed HB 1774 to reform the hailstorm litigation process.
- Senator Hancock said, "Hail litigation has spiraled out of control in Texas, mainly because of a small group of bad actors who abuse the system. SB 10/HB 1774 will address this problem, improve transparency, and protect Texas consumers from sky-high premiums without infringing on their right to make an insurance claim or sue their insurance company when it's not holding up its end of a deal."
- Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse (TALA) Executive Director Jennifer Harris commented on SB 10/HB 1774 saying, "Today in Texas, storm chasing is the new ambulance chasing, and that's why we laud Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Kelly Hancock and Representative Greg Bonnen for making hail storm lawsuit reform a top priority this legislative session. Hail storm lawyers are writing a new chapter in the annals of Texas lawsuit abuse history, and already these questionable hail storm suits are not only making headlines, they've landed Texas back on the 'hellholes' list of legal jurisdictions known for abusive legal tactics."