This week there are some incredibly important bills working their way through committees. Trayce Bradford, our President, will be speaking on a panel at a conference this morning at a FRC/VA pastor’s conference in Austin. She will also be speaking at hearings from Monday to Wednesday this week and there are plenty of big ones. Here are ones we want to highlight right now, but there might be some more coming down the pipe later. Stay tuned.
#1 – Senate Bill 892 – Texas HOME Act
For over 100 years, Texas churches and faith based organizations have placed thousands of Texas children in loving homes. Now, their future is threatened by lawsuits seeking to restrict their First Amendment right to practice their faith when placing children in those loving homes. Faith based providers have stopped operating entirely in other states after being sued and some have already closed their doors in Houston and San Antonio.
SB 892 by Senator Charles Perry would provide faith based providers – who comprise 25% of all adoption providers in Texas – with the protection they need to keep operating and helping Texas children.
But radical, left wing groups are making wild claims that protecting the basic first amendment rights of faith based providers and churches would lead to discrimination or child abuse. These radical groups want to further their own agenda at the expense of following well respected national and Texas based providers that have helped Texas children for decades such as: Buckner International, Children’s Home of Lubbock, The Catholic Conference, Baptists Children’s Homes, and many, many more.
The hearing is Wednesday, April 19th in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Please call the members as soon as possible, and let them know you expect Texas to protect our children and our religious liberty by passing SB 892. Please thank Senator Charles Perry for authoring the bill and Senator Charles Schwertner for hearing it in his committee.
#2 – House Bill 421 -Church Security Protection Act by Rep. Matt. Rinaldi
Due to misunderstanding of the law, there are thousands of churches in Texas who are unknowingly violating the law regarding church security. The Texas Occupations code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless they are licensed as a private security company. Under the current law, churches and their volunteers who violate this law could be fined up to $10,000 and face criminal charges.
The Church Security Protection Act (House Bill 421) makes a necessary change to the Texas Occupations Code, exempting churches, synagogues, or other places of worship from the current law by adding Section 1702.333 to the Code.
House Bill 421 provides necessary relief to these churches and other houses of worship by allowing them the freedom to utilize volunteer security (i.e. church members) or hire private security, depending on their need.
The bill is currently in the House Calendars Committee. Contact the committee and ask them to pass HB 421 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. Also, contact your State Representative and ask them to support this important piece of legislation by signing on as a coauthor and voting for it when it gets to the House floor.
#3 – Rep. Cecil Bell’s Texas Sovereignty Act House Bill 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015 by Sen. Creighton.
This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. SB 2015 has been referred to the State Affairs Committee and needs a hearing and HB 2338 is left pending in committee please call the members of the State and Federal Power & Responsibility Committee and ask them to please vote this bill out of committee this week. Chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.
Rep. Cecil Bell says about this legislation “Statewide elected officers in those separate states must formally affirm where they stand regarding this egregious erosion of state sovereignty and of the sovereignty of the people of the separate states.”
#4 – Pray for a Legislator
We want to ask you to do something this week that seems unnatural – pick a legislator that you don’t know anything about or even dislike. Pray for them and then send them a card to encourage them. We must press in for love and grace to have the front place in our hearts – especially now during this session. Romans 13:10 says “Love does no harm to a neighbor: therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
#5 – Privacy Legislation
There is still a move to get Privacy legislation passed this session and people are still willing to work so that will occur. Pray for wisdom, strategy and a path for privacy legislation to succeed and that the most vulnerable will be protected. We will update you more as we have better information of what is being proposed and moved forward.
Also a quick prayer request for LaNeil Spivy – who was the founder of Dallas Eagle Forum. LaNeil is not in good health and needs much prayer. Please pray for her and her family.
Keep engaging and keep moving!