In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Our report on the results of the 87th Legislature
  • TCCB ED announces new associate dir. of accreditation
  • And more! ...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

As promised at the end of session, we have compiled a full report of the results of our advocacy at the 87th Texas Legislature. The Sine Die report shows our wins, losses, and areas of progress in which a bill moved through at least one chamber. The following outcomes are related to the action alerts we sent. We thank our readers for spreading the word and helping to make the Church’s voice heard.

We are so gratified HB 1280, the Human Life Protection Act, and SB 8, the Heartbeat Act, passed and were signed into law by the Governor. This legislation goes a long way in building a culture of life in Texas. We advocated aggressively for SB 394, the Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol, but it did not make it onto the final House calendar. TCCB and other members of our pro-life coalition attended the last meeting of the Calendars committee late Sunday night the last week of session and strained our ears to listen for “394” as the bill numbers were read out at auctioneer pace. Although disappointed it failed to make the cut this session, we remain fully committed to continuing to fight for this life-saving legislation.

The bill allowing Texans to carry guns without a permit, HB 1927, was the only bill we opposed that passed and was signed into law by the Governor. We will continue to advocate for ways to reduce gun violence in future legislative sessions.

It's always disappointing to have worked hard with coalition partners and advocates to pass an important bill only to have it vetoed by the Governor. HB 686, the “second look” bill, which allows certain youth offenders the opportunity to receive parole sooner, passed with bipartisan support, but Governor Abbot vetoed it. His veto message, however, does encourage the author to bring the issue back with revisions. We hope a future legislature can address the important issue of allowing access to parole eligibility for youthful offenders with lengthy sentences.

As was the case in most previous sessions, meaningful Advance Directives reform was not possible. The legislation we opposed (SB 917/HB 2609), which would have required indefinite medical interventions at the request of a patient’s surrogate, was voted out of committee but did not get a floor vote in either chamber. Unfortunately, the bills we supported (SB 1944/HB 3099), that improved the dispute resolution process, also did not make it through the process. True reform of the Texas Advances Directives Act safeguards both the rights of patients and the conscience rights of health care providers. The complexity of this end-of-life issue truly requires an interim study where we have more time to develop solutions and reach an agreement among stakeholders.

After ten years of filing, we are pleased to share that legislation which allows homeschooled students to participate in UIL activities finally made it across the finish line (HB 547). This is a big win for homeschoolers and parental choice.

While we are happy with the "wins" from this session, we must remain engaged as the work of the Texas Legislature will continue next month. The Governor has called a special session to begin on July 8. The specific topics have yet to be announced but should they include issues on our legislative agenda, we will send out additional issues of the Texas Catholic Voice as well as action alerts during this 30-day special session.

Thank you for your advocacy and partnership as we seek to support public policy that protects human life and dignity at every age and stage of human development.

New associate director of accreditation

We are excited to announce we have a new associate director of accreditation. Ms. Robin Perry, former superintendent of the Diocese of Tyler, joins the TCCB on July 1. Prior to serving in the Tyler Diocese, Robin was a teacher, academic dean, and principal in the Diocese of Memphis. She also served on and chaired many accreditation committees for Cognia (previously AdvancED) for both public and private schools. In 2012, she received the Christ the Teacher Award for Outstanding Principal.

Raised in Memphis, Robin attended the University of Tennessee, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in history.  She holds a Master of Arts in teaching with a focus on curriculum and instruction from the University of Memphis and a Master of Science in educational leadership from Arkansas State University.  Robin is currently a doctoral candidate at St. Louis University in educational leadership, with a projected graduation date of 2022.

Upcoming Texas Executions

John Hummel - June 30, 2021

John Ramirez - Sept. 8, 2021

Rick Rhoades Sept. 28, 2021

Please join our bishops in praying for those scheduled for execution, for the victims of violent crimes and for all affected, including their families and communities. As the bishops of Texas wrote in their pastoral letter, "May God give us the grace to witness to the dignity of human life. May the Lord console the suffering, protect our community, and grant conversion to those responsible for the inflicting of death and violence upon others."

Prayer for the Legislature

Please pray for all our public servants and elected officials, including our Governor, Lt. Governor, House Speaker, lawmakers, and their staff, that the Lord may grant them wisdom and prudence to work for the common good of all the people of Texas.

papal seal

Pope Francis' prayer intention for July

We pray that, in social, economic and political situations of conflict, we may be courageous and passionate architects of dialogue and friendship.

The Texas Catholic Voice is a publication of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. For more information, write news@txcatholic.org or call 512-339-9882.