The Top 5 is the Top 10 this Week – May 1, 2017

Happy Monday!  Usually we do Top 5 each week but from here on out, we may have more like the Top 7 or 11, so bear with us as we go into the final stretch of the Texas Legislative Session.

I don’t know how many of you were watching the House Floor debate on the Sanctuary City bill SB 4 but it was an interesting time, to say the least.  Thank you to those that stood strong, especially Rep. Matt Schaefer and Rep. Matt Rinaldi that put up amendments that were adopted to put some teeth back in this legislation. Here is a great article from Empower Texans about what happened.

As this session has poked along, we have seen a number of bills that Texas Eagle Forum has either asked for in the past or asked for this session- that are quietly moving through both houses. These bills pertain to fighting the heinous work of human traffickers and legislation concerning our relationship with Israel as a trade partner and taking a stand against countries that back state-sponsored terrorism such as Iran and Sudan. These have been passing both houses with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

Below is a list of priorities that must move this week. It is painfully clear when you check the daily floor calendars for the next week that strong religious liberty bills, pro-life bill and our “securing our grid” bill are nowhere to be found. You also won’t find many of the more conservative members with legislation listed on these calendars. It is sad – because I know for a fact that the legislation I have had the blessing to work on – brought some of the nation’s most incredible experts on the subject matters to help craft these bills. This along with our top-notch legislators that have worked long and hard with humility to do what was best to get this legislation through the process. For some of them, it meant taking their names off the bill so the Speaker and the Committee Chairs will move it through the process.

Something that TEF is so very grateful for is the coalition of grassroots groups working together this session.  As you will see in the action items listed we each have particular bills we have taken the lead on. We are working together to support those that Texas Right to Life support and letting them take the strategy part. Texas Eagle Forum is thrilled to dovetail in with these groups and not try to recreate the wheel.  That is why this session has been a bit different in our calls to action.  We have not forgotten you and how valuable your voice is but we have had to be very strategic when to call upon you. The time is NOW.

We now NEED for you all to start calling and sending emails to try to move this legislation. Today is the day. This week is the week!  Many of these bills are just getting into calendars and that is why you have not been asked to call prior to this.

Here are the action items we need your help on as well as please pass this email along to get others involved! We need you!

***1) HB45 Texas Foreign Law Policy Act – What in the past has been referred to as ALAC is now known as HB 45.  It is still focused on keeping foreign law out of Texas courtrooms – where that law encroaches on our constitutional rights. This session the approach was a little different than before. After the interim hearing on ALAC last summer, we feel the information that was presented shined light on this issue and the legislators started to see the validity in this piece of legislation. It was voted out of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee 9-0 last week. Chairman Dan Flynn is the author of the bill.

It landed in Calendars this week and this is where you all come in!

We would like you to call the committee members (see numbers at the end of this email) and ask them to please get Chairman Flynn’s bill HB 45 pertaining to foreign law in Texas Courts to the floor for a vote as quickly as possible. Remind them that bill was voted out of committee 9-0 and is one that needs a chance to be heard on the floor.

Remember to please be brief and courteous. If they ask for more information just say the efforts of several legislators deciding to unify behind Chairman Flynn and working with others concerned with the wording of this bill has brought about a good piece of legislation and good faith effort on all involved.  Keep it simple and just encourage them to give the body a chance to vote.

2) Securing the Texas Grid – Several pieces of legislation pertaining to the Texas grid are moving and we hope to see that continue!  HB 787 authored by Rep. Tan Parker was voted out of the State Affairs Committee 10-0.  We need to call and ask for that important piece of legislation to be moved to the floor quickly for a vote.  You will again be calling the Calendar Committee. (see numbers at the end of the email)

As for the Senate Bill – Senator Hall’s bill SB 83 passed out of Business and Commerce this week 8-0. We need to call Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s office and please ask that bill be brought to the floor for a vote as soon as possible. His numbers are: 512-463-5342, 512-463-0001 or email LTGConstituent.Affairs@ltgov.texas.gov

There is also a letter attached to this email that you are free to send Lt. Gov. Patrick with your signature.

3) PRO-LIFE legislation is being held hostage in the State Affairs committee and it is inexcusable.  Please read this excellent article from Texas Right to Life to get the latest as well as action items. https://www.texasrighttolife.com/house-inexcusably-delays-dismemberment-abortion-ban/

4) Privacy Act (SB 6 and the House bill 2899) – One would have to be living under a rock to have not heard about this issue.  Please read this press release from Texas Values and follow the action steps provided.  Notice the obstructionist in these important issues.

From Texas Values:

BREAKING: Coppell ISD, Home District of House Privacy Bill Author, Allows Boys in Girls’ Bathrooms

While the leadership of the Texas House, including State Affairs Chair Byron Cook, sits on privacy legislation (such as HB 2899), battles over “gender identity” continue to be waged in our public-school restrooms, costing taxpayers time and resources, as well as putting our schoolchildren at risk.

The most recent example of this unfortunate (and avoidable) trend is occurring in the Coppell ISD, a school district located in the suburbs north of Dallas. The CISD includes a portion of the legislative district for Rep. Ron Simmons, author of the House privacy act, HB 2899. CISD Students have reportedly been allowed to use the restroom of the gender they identify with at the moment, as long as school administrators agree.
The CISD’s employee and student handbooks contain several “gender identity” provisions (see attached). Local media picked up on this after it was brought to light by several parents and a school board candidate who have reported hearing stories of a boy dressed as a girl exposing himself to others. One report says that the CISD Superintendent is relying on President Barack Obama’s 2016 bathroom directive, which was struck down by a Texas federal court judge and was later rescinded by President Donald Trump.

This latest example of local school districts making a mess of the bathroom and locker room privacy issue is more evidence of why the Texas Legislature must enact a statewide consistent law on this issue now,” said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values. “Hiding information from parents and shutting the public out of the process of drafting these rules are putting children at all ages at risk. If the Texas Legislature does not address this major issue now, it is only going to get worse. Situations like with Fort Worth ISD, Dripping Springs ISD, and now Coppell ISD will replicate themselves all over Texas in both small and large districts.

According to Star Local Media (which owns several community newspapers in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth), the Coppell ISD is not responding to media replies, citing possible privacy law violations such as FERPA (Federal Education Rights & Privacy Act).
It’s ironic that the school district only cares about the privacy of the identity of some students but not the bathroom and locker room privacy of everyone else. Laws designed to prevent discrimination should not be interpreted in a way that puts children in harm’s way,” Saenz continued.

You simply cannot put a price on this important issue. It’s time for State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook to take a vote on HB 2899, and for Speaker Joe Straus to assign SB 6 to a committee. It’s becoming apparent that our local school districts are unable to withstand the tremendous amount of pressure put on them by special interests from the LGBT left. Our legislative leaders are needed to stand in the gap in order to protect privacy.

A list of privacy violation incidents from across Texas may be read at the following link: http://tinyurl.com/SB6Texasincidents (PDF).
More information:
·         Six Essential Facts About Senate Bill 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6Facts
·         List of businesses and organizations which support SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6businesses
·         Testimonial videos in support of SB 6: http://tinyurl.com/sb6videos
Texas Values is a nonprofit organization dedicated to standing for faith, family, and freedom in Texas. More information is available at txvalues.org.

5) – Texas HOME Act SB 892

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.
A hearing was held on 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.

***6) – Church Security Bill

From our Coalition Partners at Concerned Women for America

The Church Security Protection Act, House Bill 421 by Rep. Matt Rinaldi, will allow churches and other places of worship to utilize volunteer security teams. Many churches in Texas aren’t aware that the The Texas Occupations Code currently prohibits houses of worship from having volunteer security unless the people providing security 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. HB 421 would make a small change to the Texas Occupations Code exempting churches and other places of worship from this troublesome code. House Bill 421 currently has 37 joint/co-authors and has been in the House Calendars Committee since April 10th.

Another similar church security bill, House Bill 981 by Rep. John Wray, was heard in the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, April 25th and voted out of that committee the same day. This bill is much more narrow and specific than House Bill 421, but would do pretty much the same thing for churches and places of worship.
House Bill 981 currently has 3 joint authors and no co-authors and is on its was to the House Calendars Committee.

Since so many churches have now been made aware of the guidelines set forth by the Texas Occupations Code through the promoting of these two bills, we need the Texas Legislature to act now more than ever before. With the current climate of violence against churches, we need to give churches the tools they need to freely protect themselves and their property.

Please contact the House Calendars Committee and ask them to vote HB 421 or HB 981 out of committee and to the floor for a vote. While HB 421 is the favored bill given the number of current co-authors and the strength of the bill language, we would still be pleased to see HB 981 voted out of Calendars and sent to the floor.

7) – Texas Sovereignty Act HB 2338 and the similar Senate Bill 2015 

This legislation will support tenth amendment enforcement in Texas and protects us from unconstitutional acts of the federal government. It basically defines a new joint legislative committee that reviews federal decisions whether judicial or congressional and provides determination on it Constitutionality based on US Constitution original intent and Texas Constitutionality. Basically, it allows for Texas to nullify federal overreach and give sovereignty back to Texas according to 10th Amendment 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. The chair of the committee is Rep. Drew Darby and the Vice Chair is Rep. Andrew S. Murr, so please call them.

Chair Drew Darby – (512) 463-0331
Vice Chair Andrew Murr – (512) 463-0542

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.”

8) Toll Roads

From Terri –TexasTurf.org

We have made significant progress in the Senate, but like most conservative legislation, our pro-taxpayer, anti-toll bills are being stymied in the House.

1) Ask the Chair of the House Transportation Committee, Geanie Morrison, to call for swift hearings to vote out our anti-toll bills coming over from the Senate (SB 399 by Kolkhorst to prevent the conversion of free lanes to toll lanes. More bills are coming).

Chairwoman Geanie Morrison – (512) 463-0456

2) Call your House member and ask them to vote ‘No’ on HB 2861 and HB 1589 to hand our Texas highways to foreign toll operators in 50 year sweetheart deals that put taxpayers on the hook for the private company’s losses, which amounts to corporate welfare. Toll rates can exceed 75 cents a mile and commuters in the Metroplex report having to pay $30-$40/day to use such foreign-operated toll lanes. (For more, read here.)

We expect one or both of these BAD bills to come to the House floor for a vote this week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

3) Call your state senator and ask him/her to support our anti-toll bills (SB 812, SB 637, SB 1437, SB 740). Two will be up for a vote Monday and the others are expected later in the week.

Capitol switchboard: (512) 463-4630 (open M-F, 8 AM – 5 PM)

Background on the bills:
SB 812 (Kolkhorst) – This requires toll entities to repay any funds they receive from TxDOT. Currently, TxDOT grants billions in our gasoline taxes to subsidize toll roads that can’t pay for themselves. Over $10 billion in your gasoline taxes have gone to prop-up loser toll projects already. SB 812 would prevent this double taxation and require the taxpayers to be repaid.
SB 637 (Huffines) – To authorize the State Auditor to conduct audits of the Regional Mobility Authorities. These are unelected, unaccountable toll authorities that are rife with ethics problems, conflicts of interest, and delivering projects late and over budget.
SB 1437 (Schwertner) – Reforms toll collection procedures, making them more fair and transparent to consumers and forces toll entities to promptly refund drivers for erroneous toll bills.
SB 740 (Kolkhorst) – Reforms many eminent domain abuses and gives landowners more rights in eminent domain proceedings.

4) Call these members of the Senate Finance Committee to support swift passage of Senator Bob Hall’s SB 84 to help fund major road projects without raising taxes. SB 84 is up for a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee Monday morning. It offers a way to prevent our Texas roadways from being handed to these private toll operators. TxDOT is trying to blackmail our legislators into passing HB 2861 and HB 1589 saying it’s the ‘only’ way to fund these big projects (the price tag exceeds $20 billion). Sen. Hall’s bill, SB 84, is another way to get these big projects funded without tolls, without raising taxes, and it needs to be voted out of committee Monday! 

(Note: We’re not having you call the more conservative members of the committee since they already support the bill.)

Chair – Jane Nelson (512) 463-0112
Vice Chair – Juan Chuy Hinojosa (512) 463-0120
Sen. Robert Nichols (512) 463-0103
Sen. Joan Huffman (512) 463-0117
Sen. Kel Seliger (512) 463-0131
Sen. Larry Taylor (512) 463-0111
Sen. Carlos Uresti (512) 463-0119
Sen. Royce West (512) 463-0123
Sen. Kirk Watson (512) 463-0114
Sen. John Whitmire (512) 463-0115

Other more conservative members if you have time to call:
Sen. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0109
Sen. Paul Bettencourt (512) 463-0107
Sen.Brian Birdwell (512) 463-0122
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (512) 463-0118
Sen. Charles Schwertner (512) 463-0105

9) SB 1415 Protect Families from Unjust CPS Investigations.
This is from our friends at Texas Homeschool Coalition. SB 1415 is currently pending in the Health and Human Services Committee.  Please consider emailing the committee and asking them to please move it out of committee this week.

***10) See Something Say Something HB2069 – This short bill will help protect those that report suspicious behavior pertaining to terrorism or human trafficking in good faith from being sued. This is an important bill for the State of Texas and we encourage you to call or email the Calendar Committee to send this bill to the floor for a full vote.

Pray and Stay – Please pray diligently for the rest of session and that strategy is given to these law makers that are fighting for the things that are good, noble and principled.

Please stay engaged, your voice must be heard and this takes all of us staying plugged in to the end.

Please remember you are not trying to convert these folks or train them on these subjects.  Many of them are very familiar with these issues.  They just need to hear from us.  Here are the phone numbers.

Calendar Committee contact info is here:

  • Chairman Todd Hunter todd.hunter@house.texas.gov 512 463-0672
  • Donna Howard donna.howard@house.texas.gov 512 463-0631
  • Roberto R. Alonzo roberto.alonzo@house.texas.gov 512 463-0408
  • Trent Ashby trent.ashby@house.texas.gov 512 463-0508
  • Byron Cook byron.cook@house.texas.gov 512 463-0730
  • Sarah Davis sarah.davis@house.texas.gov 512 463-0389
  • Charlie Geren charlie.geren@house.texas.gov 512 463-0610
  • Helen Giddings helen.giddings@house.texas.gov 512 463-0953
  • Kyle J. Kacal kyle.kacal@house.texas.gov 512 463-0412
  • Ken King ken.king@house.texas.gov 512 463-0736
  • Linda Koop linda.koop@house.texas.gov 512 463-0454
  • Poncho Nevárez poncho.nevarez@house.texas.gov 512 463-0566
  • Chris Paddie chris.paddie@house.texas.gov 512 463-0556
  • Dade Phelan dade.phelan@house.texas.gov 512 463-0706
  • Toni Rose toni.rose@house.texas.gov 512 463-0664

Thank you so much!!!!! God Bless You and God Bless Texas!

Trayce Bradford

President of Texas Eagle Forum





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