Legislative Priorities Report Sept. 6, 2021
This past Thursday evening the second Special Session ended three days early when Speaker Phelan abruptly announced the House was adjourning Sine Die. Here is what that means currently for our Legislative Priorities, as established by our state convention delegates last summer.
Election Integrity—SB 1 passed, the omnibus election integrity bill that will improve processes at the county level and with the addition of civil penalties, makes prosecution more likely. Thanks to Rep. Bryan Slaton, an amendment providing for audits going forward was added. We also had one bill passed during regular session which increases criminal penalties for voter fraud.
Religious Freedom– We did get some small bills passed and a constitutional amendment will be on the ballot regarding not closing places of worship during a pandemic.
Child and Gender Modification (ban)-No bills passed to the Governor’s desk.
Abolish Abortion—The Heartbeat bill passed and went into effect Sept. 1. It is saving babies and survived the first Supreme Court challenge thankfully. A trigger bill outlawing abortion in Texas completely when Roe v. Wade is repealed also passed.
Constitutional Carry– This was our other big win and went into effect Sept. 1. You may permit-less carry now in Texas with a few exceptions. Rep. Matt Schaefer was outstanding in filing and working to get this bill passed.
Monument Protection– One little bill protecting some historical markers.
School Choice–No bills passed to the Governor’s desk.
Banning Taxpayer Funded Lobbying–No bills passed to the Governor’s desk.
Chairman’s Priority, Reigning in Executive Overreach–No bills passed to the Governor’s desk.
As we assess the bills that made it through committees and to the chamber floors for votes, the Senate stands out for passing many more of our priority bills than the House. In fact, the Senate passed bills for each of our priorities, but many were killed in House committees.
For example, the Senate passed two excellent bills for banning gender modification, but when they arrived in the House only one made it to Calendars committee, and ultimately it was not scheduled in time for a vote on the House floor. It was clear Speaker Phelan and members of the Calendars committee were not willing to allow a vote, even though all indications were that there were enough votes for passage.
During this second special session, SB 2, by Senator Perry, the bill that would have protected biological girls in sports K-12, was passed in the Senate but died in Public Education Committee when Democrat Chair Dutton refused to bring it for a vote.
Lt. Gov. Patrick has asked Governor Abbott to put this on the next special session call with redistricting. We appreciate this recognition of the importance of insisting on biological reality in public schools and ask a further step to protect Texas children. We urge the governor to extend the protection through college sports and also add banning child gender modification practices including surgeries, cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers.
As we have continued to point out, having Democrat chairs of House committees has been a roadblock for several of our Legislative Priorities bills. While Rep. Dutton of Public Education did allow SB 3, the bill banning Critical Race Theory in public schools, he held SB 2 hostage.
No bills were passed to protect private employees from Covid vaccine mandates. This dilemma is hitting more and more Texas families faced with filing exemptions which may or may not be accepted or losing their jobs if they do not wish to be forced to take an injection. No bills prohibiting mask mandates were passed, although the governor’s executive order against counties and school districts requiring masks remains active.
The session ended with Speaker Phelan taking no meaningful measures to punish the House Democrats for quorum-busting. This leaves open the question of who is really in charge of the Texas House.
- Continue to ask that Democrat committee chairs who broke quorum be removed, Contact Speaker Phelan at (512-463-1000)
- Continue to ask Governor Abbott to add protecting biological girls sports, banning gender modification, and banning private vaccine mandates for employees to the next Special Session call. (512-463-1782)
We will take a little break again until the next Special Session. Please take some time meanwhile to read the US Constitution and the Texas Constitution. We all need to remember the limitations on government our founders intended for our nation and our state. Thank you so much for reading and engaging with your state government!
For God and Texas,
SREC, SD 12
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee
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