How are bill positions developed?
The bishops of Texas approve a legislative agenda in the spring prior to legislative session. Then, the TCCB staff works with members of the legislature to develop our priority legislation and opposition strategies for negative legislation. In early November, legislative members begin to file bills. In consultation with the bishops, the TCCB staff reviews and analyzes all bills filed to determine the TCCB's position, based on the bill’s effectiveness in achieving the bishops’ legislative agenda goals. A TCCB position is shared with the bill author and posted on the TCCB website. For priority bills, staff will offer public testimony in support or opposition of the bill and ask for grassroots calls and emails of support or opposition.
Why isn’t a bill that is on our agenda posted yet?
TCCB staff review and analyze all bills filed to determine if they accomplish the legislative goals of the bishops of Texas, which includes more than 30 items. Other advocacy organizations may only be looking at one issue so they are able to post their analysis and position more quickly than we do given. Even if a bill is not publicly posted on the website, our staff may be involved in monitoring the bill and working with the bill author to improve it so that we can take a position on it. We will send out the Texas Catholic Voice weekly during legislative session with updates on bills recently added to our website.
Can a bill position change?
Yes! Bills almost never remain the same from the time they are filed to their final passage. Sometimes, a bad amendment can get onto a good bill causing us to change our support position to one of opposition. Other times, a bill author may see that we are opposed to his/her bill and will make positive changes to the bill to earn our support. When we formally change positions on a bill, we will always include a notice in the Texas Catholic Voice newsletter letting advocates know of the change in position on the bill and what was amended to lead to the change in position.