Legislative Priorities Report Sept. 20, 2021
The third special session of the 87th Texas Legislature begins today. The Governor announced he has placed the following items on the call:
- Legislation providing appropriations from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
- Protecting biological girls’ sports in grades K-12.
- Legislation regarding whether public entities can mandate the Covid 19 vaccine and if so, what exemptions should apply.
- Legislation similar to Senate Bill 474 as passed in the regular sessions but that addresses concerns in governor’s veto statement. (This refers to protecting dogs from being tethered in a yard.
- Other subjects as may be submitted by the Governor after the session convenes.
Now that the 2020 census is available, the work of making sure all the districts for state and congressional offices are appropriately drawn begins. It is important for citizens to participate in this process to ensure fair representation.
As far as our Legislative Priorities are concerned, we are looking at bills filed regarding exemptions for vaccines under reasons of religion and conscience. Self-ownership—having control of one’s body and mind—is the most basic human right. Mandated medical procedures violate this fundamental liberty by forcing individuals to ingest substances that carry a risk of harm. Especially where a vaccine, like the COVID-19 vaccine, does not prevent transmission to others, there is simply no justification for abridging this right. Individuals have a right to weight the potential benefits and dangers of vaccines and choose for themselves. This is to say nothing of the religious and conscience objections that many have to the vaccine, which are protected under the First Amendment and state and federal statute. We strongly urge the governor to call for legislation to protect citizens’ right to reject these vaccines without fear of reprisal or loss of employment in both public and private spheres.
The other item on the call relating to the RPT’s Religious Freedom priority is protecting biological girls’ sports. As you may recall, last session this bill died as Democrat House Education Committee Chair Harold Dutton would not allow a bill out of committee. We are appreciative that the Senate passed a bill to protect girls and are confident it will again. However, Speaker Dade Phelan must refer the bill to a different committee in order for it to get a vote on the House floor and, ultimately, reach the governor’s desk. The decision on which committee to refer the bill is entirely within the Speaker’s power. Referring the bill to a Democrat-chaired committee is akin to killing it.
There is one item from the last special session that should be re-addressed. The omnibus Election Integrity bill, SB 1, was passed despite the protestations of the Democrats. However, there was one Amendment that slipped through that needs to be corrected. Amendment 50, submitted by Representative Allison and included in the final legislation, decreased an existing penalty for election fraud from a second-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor. Perhaps this was a concession to the Democrats by Speaker Phelan, but it must be rectified. But first it must be added to the call.
The other glaring omission from the call is banning child sex change medical practices. The statement from the Department of Family Services that they consider surgeries to remove healthy body parts child abuse does not expressly apply to other non-surgical transitions that permanently harm children and are far more prevalent in this state. We must have legislation that protects children that includes puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. It is simply inexcusable that Texas would prioritize the protection for dogs this special session, while omitting the protection of children like James Younger.
- Review the proposed redistricting maps as they are released to see how they affect your community and make your legislators aware of any comments and/or concerns related to the maps.
- Call Governor Abbott, your Representative and Senator, and Speaker Phelan and ask for legislation:
a. banning public and private vaccine mandates;
b. reversing Amendment 50’s penalty reduction for election fraud to SB1;
c. protecting women’s sports; and
d. banning all child gender modification.
Finally, if you attempted to access our Republican Party of Texas website recently, you may have noticed that all the usual features are temporarily down. The Heartbeat Act that was recently passed and signed by Governor Abbott has caused great consternation to those who wish to murder unborn children, and so we have been attacked. This is neither a surprise or a threat to us, and we hope to have things up and running again very soon. As they say, you know you are over the target when you are taking flack. Remember that we still have many resources for you on our site under the tab, #TXlege.
For God and Texas,
SREC, SD 12
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee
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