Religious Freedom, Anti-Free Speech, Pro-Life Bills on House Floor
Rep. Scott Sanford intends to offer an important religious freedom amendment to SB 206 by Rep. Cindy Burkett tomorrow, May 26, on the House floor. The amendment, similar to HB 3864 the “Hope for Orphans and Minors Expansion” Act (or HOME Bill), would protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of child welfare providers, foster homes and adoption agencies.
In Texas, a large portion of our welfare providers, foster homes and adoption agencies are faith-based organizations. In other states, overbearing governments have essentially forced some faith-based organizations to close or stop services due to the organizations’ stance on Biblical marriage. This amendment would help ensure this does not happen in Texas. Click here to download an infographic about the issue.
Please Take Action to Protect Religious Freedom:
- Contact your State Rep. to support Rep. Sanford’s religious freedom amendment to SB 206 by Rep. Cindy Burkett.
Oppose Anti-Free Speech Bill, Don’t Let Government Target Non-Profits, Churches
Tomorrow, May 26 the Texas House will also consider an important ethics reform bill, SB 19, which has been substituted with dangerous language that would infringe on the First Amendments rights of Texans and non-profit organizations, like Texas Values Action. The changes to SB 19 have been driven by Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) and others in the leadership of the Texas House.
The version of this bill that passed the Senate was designed to improve ethics laws to increase government transparency and reduce opportunities for elected officials to abuse the public trust for their personal gain. But, the House Committee Substitute version to be heard on the House floor does the opposite and is essentially unrecognizable from the Senate-passed version.
The bill would now seek to silence and intimidate non-profits by requiring non-profits that attempt to engage in political speech to reveal the names of their donors. The language is so broad that it could even be used to regulate churches. This has serious First Amendment constitutional concerns as the U.S. Supreme Court has frequently observed that forcing organizations to identify their donors infringes on their constitutional rights. It would further criminalize free speech by preventing citizens from communicating legislative views to members of the legislature in certain circumstances, among many other dangerous and unconstitutional provisions.
Last session, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed similar legislation stating it would have a “chilling effect” on First Amendment rights. We strongly urge you to contact your State Representative to oppose the current version of SB 19 and support amendment efforts to restore the bill back to the Senate-passed version.
Please Take Action to Oppose SB 19:
- Ask your State Rep. to oppose the House Committee Substitute to SB 19 and ask them to support amendments to restore the bill back to the Senate-passed version.
Support Pro-Life SB 575, Protect Consumers from paying for Abortion
The Texas House is also scheduled to consider SB 575 tomorrow. This pro-life bill prevents insurance plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) from covering abortion unless a separate, supplemental plan for such coverage was purchased by the consumer. The bill protects the freedom of Texans to abide by their consciences when they do not wish to fund the abortions of others, as they are currently forced to do. The bill is a strong first step towards applying Pro-Life protections to elective abortion coverage in the health insurance market.
Please Take Action to Support Pro-Life SB 575: