Legislative Priorities Report for 4.12.23

The Texas Senate made last week a great one for children.  SB 14, Senator Campbell’s bill to stop gender mutilation of children, was successfully debated and passed by the Senate.  We are grateful for the excellent work of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sen. Bryan Hughes, and Sen. Campbell for skillfully navigating this bill to passage.

The Senate also passed a Legislative Priorities Committee approved bill to Stop Sexualization of Children, SB 12 by Sen. Hughes, which prohibits sexual performances in the presence of children under age 18.  This includes “drag queen” performances and passed with bipartisan support. The Senate also passed SB 1601, which stops so-called “Drag Queen Story Hours,” which have taken place in libraries across Texas. The bills have moved to the Texas House, where they await consideration.

We also appreciate Sen. Brandon Creighton for working with the Republican Party of Texas during the drafting of SB 8, his parental rights/school choice bill, which the Senate passed last week. The first line of the bill had previously referred to “rights granted under the laws of this state.” This language was amended to accurately refer to “[t]he fundamental rights granted to parents by their Creator and upheld by . . . the laws of this state.” God gives parents rights, and they are protected by the Constitution and the state of Texas.  We will continue to work with legislators to promote amendments that ensure no government strings are attached to education savings accounts and they meet our legislative priority language for Parental Rights and Educational Freedom.

In the House, we are very pleased that Rep. Jared Patterson’s HB 900 on removing explicit library books has been sent to Calendars.  This is our first approved Legislative Priority bill to move in the House, and we anticipate a floor vote soon.

We are hoping for movement on strong bills to Protect our Elections, Secure the Border and Protect Texans.  Sen. Paul Bettencourt has two election bills that have passed the Senate and another, SB 1039, which addresses election irregularities, on the Intent Calendar for this week.  There is also one approved bill in the House Elections Committee that will be heard this week.

We have several border bills in the House State Affairs Committee this week.  Rep. Matt Schaefer will lay out HB 20, a comprehensive border bill that formally declares an invasion and creates a Border Protection Unit that will report directly to the Governor.  This bill also includes language to “repel” persons entering Texas and strengthens border trespass offenses, among other things. These bills and others are scheduled as below:

Wednesday 4/12

House State Affairs 10:30 am JHR 140

HB 7 Guillen (Criminal activity in border region)

HB 20 Schaefer (Comprehensive border bill including repel and declaration of invasion)

HB 82 Spiller (Interstate Compact)

Thursday 4/13

Elections 10:30 am E2.016

HB 1243 Hefner (Increasing a criminal penalty for illegal voting)

We have two important events coming up soon.  Please plan to attend our RPT coalition event in support of Banning Gender Modification of Children on Thursday, April 20, in the morning as we visit House members’ offices to advocate for this priority.  Then, in the afternoon, join us as we hear from a wide coalition including legislators, grassroots groups like Partners for Ethical Care, American Principles Project, Texas Values, Texas Eagle Forum, Mass Resistance, and several detransitioners.  We will meet from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Legislative Conference Center in the new Reagan Building on the Capitol Complex. 

Also, mark your calendar for April 25 to support the Stop Sexualization of Children priority.  The Republican Party of Texas is collaborating with grassroots leaders, organizations, religious groups, and churches across the state to come together on April 25 for the Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids Day of Action and Prayer at the Texas State Capitol.  As the momentum is building around bills that protect children from explicit materials, pornography, and sexually oriented performances, we are imagining a Millstone Package of bills that will protect Texas children from all those who wish to exploit them.

Action Steps:

  1. Please register support online in the House for our bills having hearings this week.  You can find the link to do so at the bottom of the page on each Committee Schedule (linked above).  You may make online comments from the time the schedule is posted until the hearing is closed.
  2. Come to the Capitol and testify in person on any of these bills this week.
  3. House Elections Chairman Reggie Smith has not passed ANY election integrity priority bills out of his committee. Please call Rep. Smith at (512) 463-0297 and ask him to pass the following bills:
    • HB862 – Schofield – removes persons from the voter rolls who have sworn they are not legal citizens when called to serve on jury duty.
    • HB 871 – Hefner – prohibits the use of software installation in voting system hardware manufactured outside the United States.
    • HB 919 – Slaton – closes the gap between early voting and election day
    • HB 1134 – Jetton – confirms a voter’s residence if the elections office believes a voter’s current address is different from what is indicated on voter registration records.
    • HB 2728 – Paul – electronic devices for voting must be capable of updating in real time every ten minutes.  The SOS may not certify this machine if it does not have this capability.
    • HB 2809 – Jetton – prohibits the use and collection of some private information when using the interstate crosscheck program under the contract with ERIC.
    • HB 4329 – Schofield – requires a voter to declare their residential address be the location where the person habitually sleeps in cases of homelessness.
    • HB 4399 – Hayes – requires posting notices on the county website with details and procedures related to Central Count, including peace officers, logic and accuracy tests, poll watchers and livestream information notices.
    • HB 4544 – Toth – requires the public inspection of election records within sixty days of an election day including images of voted ballots and original ballots.
    • HB 4548 – Toth – the registrar must offer the range of serial numbers of ballots received and provided to voters, including serial numbers of spoiled ballots.
    • HB 4719 – Toth – requires the SOS to appoint a dedicated cybersecurity expert to implement cyber security measures in order to protect election data and provides consequences for any election data breach performed by an employee.  Prohibits the use of electronic systems capable of being connected to the Internet.
    • HB 4733 – Toth – prohibits ballot scanners from being connected to storage devices that have capabilities to modify scanned ballots
    • HB 4753 – Tinderholt – prevents the distribution of an unsolicited application for ballot by mail
    • HB 5231 – Tinderholt – eliminates countywide voting and returns voting back to precinct-based voting.

For God and Texas,

Jill Glover
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee

To receive future SREC Legislative Priority Updates directly in your mailbox each week, sign up here.

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