In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon talks bill filing deadline and bills on the move...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

This past week was one of the more intense weeks of session because the bill filing deadline is today and hearings are in full swing. Legislative session has four phases: bill filing, hearings on bills, floor action on bills, and the veto period.  TCCB staff is juggling reviewing up to 400-500 bills per day, while also attending hearings and having meetings with legislators and staff on priority issues to encourage hearings. Both chambers have been moving slower than usual and only meeting on the floor for about 10 minutes two days per week. Next week the House will meet for four days and there are a few bills out of committee, so we could potentially start to see floor action. This Monday, the Senate State Affairs Committee chaired by Bryan Hughes will be hearing a host of pro-life bills. TCCB staff will be testifying on our two highest pro-life priorities which are the Human Life Protection Act filed by Sen. Angela Paxton and the Chemical Abortion Safety Protocol filed by Sen. Eddie Lucio. SB 9 will trigger a ban on abortions insofar as the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and/or Planned Parenthood v. Casey in whole or in part. SB 394 will codify in Texas statute critical federal regulations related to drug-induced abortions for the safety of women. No abortion is safe, but while abortion remains legal in Texas, the harm to women's health must be mitigated. We will also be registering our support for bills that ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected (SB 8), ban abortions based on race, sex, and disability (SB 1173), and ban funding for abortion logistical support (SB 650). Please contact the committee members if you are one of their constituents and voice your support for this legislation that seeks to protect the unborn. In addition to the pro-life bills, we will support bills related to human trafficking, family guardianship issues, infant protection, religious liberty when serving the poor, criminal background checks at gun shows, food insecurity, increased access to Pre-k, and job training for self-sufficiency. For the full list, see below.

Bills in Committee Week of March 15

  • Senate State Affairs Committee, Monday at 9 a.m.
    • SB 8 by Sen. Bryan Hughes prohibits a physician from performing an abortion after detection of fetal heartbeat. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • SB 9 by Sen. Angela Paxton allows Texas to prohibit abortion to the extent allowed under US Supreme Court precedent. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • SB 30 by Sen. Royce West removes discriminatory property restrictions based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • SB 394 by Sen. Eddie Lucio regulates chemical abortions. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • SB 650 by Sen. Donna Campbell prohibits government funding of abortion logistical support. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • SB 1173 by Sen. Kelly Hancock would ban discriminatory abortions. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, Monday at 10 a.m.
    • HB 193 by Rep. Toni Rose requires a juvenile court destroy court records of victims of sex trafficking. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 576 by Rep. James White/HB 139 by Rep. Candy Noble requires a final order to be rendered within 90 days after the trial commences to help finalize guardianship issues. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 683 by Rep.  Ina Minjarez ensures that parents who are unable to care for their infants can provide a safe opportunity for the child be provided a loving home. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • Senate Local Government Committee, Monday at 2 p.m.
    • SB 46 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini protects the religious liberty of churches to serve the poor. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Business and industry Committee, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 531 by Rep. Armando Walle requires a landlord to provide notice concerning a leased dwelling about whether or not they are aware that the dwelling is in a floodplain. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1059 by Rep. Phil Stephenson would require disclosure of property in a floodplain. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Human Services Committee, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 1019 be Rep. Terry Meza requires simplified requirements for SNAP applicants and recipients who are 60 years of age or older. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Public Education Committee, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 725 by Rep. Jared Patterson expands eligibility for free public pre-K programs to children who have ever been in foster care in another state. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Public Health Committee, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 1164 by Rep. Tom Oliverson create a center to support mothers with complex pregnancies. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House International Relationships/Economic Development Committee, Wednesday at 8 a.m.  
    • HB 1247 by Rep. Jose Lozano encourages work-based learning. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1791 by Rep. Angie Button Chen promotes job-training programs for self-sufficiency. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.
    • SB 224 by Sen. Charles Perry simplifies certification for SNAP benefits for the elderly and disabled. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Homeland Security and Public Safety, Thursday at 9 a.m.
    • HB 52 by Rep. Ron Reynolds requires criminal background checks a gun shows. The TCCB supports this bill.

For a full list of bills we have already taken positions on, you can visit our website that will be updated throughout session.

Upcoming Texas Executions

  • Ramiro Gonzales - 4/20/21

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.

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.