SB17 – Religious Freedom Bill, Passes Senate Floor and Heads to House
The Texas State Senate voted 19-12 today, with bipartisan support, on the third and final reading of SB17 to protect religious freedom for occupational license holders. The eyes of Texas now turn to the House chamber to ensure they continue to protect religious freedom for professionals in Texas.
Nicole Hudgens, Senior Policy Analyst for Texas Values Action said “No Texas professional should fear the government taking away their livelihood because of their faith. We applaud Senator Charles Perry and the Texas Senate for their work to protect religious freedom for Texas license holders. We urge the Texas House to pass SB 17 quickly.”
SB 17 is supported by Texas Values Action, Texas Right to Life, Texas Pastor Council, First Liberty Institute, Republican Party of Texas, numerous lawyers, Christian counselors, and other groups and faith leaders.
The Texas Professionals Protection Act, SB 17 ensures the government cannot punish a licensed professional by revoking or denying a license or certificate because of a person’s sincerely held religious belief or because of their membership in a religious organization. SB 17 is a targeted approach to protect religious freedom, similar to the Pastor Protection Act and the Freedom to Serve Children Act. The bill has passed with bipartisan support in Texas Senate State Affairs Committee and on second reading.
The bill specifically amends the Texas Occupations Code to prohibit the state government from adopting any rule, regulation, policy, or penalty that unreasonably limits or burdens a person’s sincerely held religious belief, freedom of speech, or freedom of association.
Be sure to send a message to Senator Perry’s office thanking him for authoring this bill, Charles.Perry@senate.texas.gov, via Twitter at @electcharles or call his office at 512-463-0128.
To see how your member voted, check the vote below:
Sen. Paul Bettencourt, (R) Houston
Sen. Brian Birdwell, (R) Granbury
Sen. Dawn Buckingham, (R) Lakeway
Sen. Donna Campbell, (R) New Braunfels
Sen. Brandon Creighton, (R) Conroe
Sen. Pat Fallon, (R) Prosper
Sen. Peter Flores, (R) Pleasanton
Sen. Bob Hall, (R) Edgewood
Sen. Kelly Hancock, (R) North Richland Hills
Sen. Joan Huffman, (R) Houston
Sen. Bryan Hughes, (R) Mineola
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, (R) Brenham
Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., (D) Brownsville
Sen. Jane Nelson, (R) Flower Mound
Sen. Robert Nichols, (R) Jacksonville
Sen. Angela Paxton, (R) McKinney
Sen. Charles Perry, (R) Lubbock
Sen. Charles Schwertner, (R) Georgetown
Sen. Larry Taylor, (R) Friendswood
Sen. Carol Alvarado, (D) Houston
Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, (D) McAllen
Sen. Nathan Johnson, (D) Dallas
Sen. José Menéndez, (D) San Antonio
Sen. Borris Miles, (D) Houston
Sen. Beverly Powell, (D) Burleson
Sen. José Rodríguez, (D) El Paso
Sen. Kel Seliger, (R) Amarillo
Sen. Kirk Watson, (D) Austin
Sen. Royce West, (D) Dallas
Sen. John Whitmire, (D) Houston
Sen. Judith Zaffirini. (D) Laredo