In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon talks testimony....

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

TCCB staff has worked diligently to complete bill review and is now focused on drafting testimony. We register support or opposition for bills by “dropping a card” at the committee hearing or we provide oral testimony.

Bills on which we take a position may be heard at simultaneous hearings. With only three staff available to testify, we cannot be everywhere at once and may have to prioritize certain bills over others. Priority is given to bills that have the greatest impact on the common good, bills on which the author invited us to testify, and whether our position is well articulated by coalition partners who are testifying. Written testimony is available on our website; we update as hearings progress.

This week there are several important bills being heard in the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee which relate to raising the age of criminal responsibility and raising the age at which a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over a child. The TCCB supports these bills to ensure that children (minors) are not treated as adults in the legal system which so often hinders restorative justice. We will be testifying in support of SB 581, which prohibits a property owners association from restricting religious expression protection on an owner’s property, and HB 1916, which prohibits payday and auto-title lenders from using telemarketing calls to solicit consumers on the Texas "Do Not Call" list. Please contact committee members if you are one of their constituents and voice your support for this legislation.

See below for the full list of bills we are supporting this week, but please note the committee hearing schedule is fluid and bills may be added to existing hearing dates and new hearings are scheduled throughout the week.

We are pleased to report that all of the pro-life bills we supported in Senate State Affairs at the marathon hearing last Monday were voted out of committee, including our top priorities SB 9 and SB 394.

Bills in Committee Week of March 22

  • House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues, Monday at 10 a.m.
    • HB 967 by Rep. Harold Dutton raises the age of criminal responsibility. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1430 by Rep. Harold Dutton raises the age of criminal responsibility. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1783 by Rep. James White raises the age of criminal responsibility. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 486 by Rep. Gene Wu raises the age of criminal responsibility. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 487 by Rep. Gene Wu raises the age of criminal responsibility. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Ways and Means, Monday at 10 a.m.
    • HB 1197 by Rep. Will Metcalf extend tax exemptions for land owned by religious organizations. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Criminal Jurisprudence, Monday at 2 p.m.
    • HB 402 by Rep. Ana Hernandez provides funds to serve domestic victims of trafficking. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1293 by Rep. John Smithee allows for new trial on motion of parties in interests of justice. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Business and Industry, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 820 by Rep. James White requires covered businesses conduct audit for used of forced labor. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1916 by Rep. Chris Turner reduces predatory payday and auto-title lending practices. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Human Services, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 133 by Rep. Toni Rose extend medical assistance for women receiving Medicaid for one year following delivery or miscarriage. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1334 by Rep. Leo Pacheco addresses emergency possession of abandoned children. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 1843 by Rep. Cole Hefner improves the “Baby Moses” law. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • Senate Business and Commerce, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
    • SB 6 by Sen. Kelly Hancock provides liability protections for pandemic/disaster claims. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • Senate Health and Human Services, Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
    • SB 271 by Sen. Charles Perry requires background checks for employees at assisted living facilities. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Corrections, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 1307 by Rep. Mary Gonzalez supports care for pregnant women in county jail or TDCJ custody. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 2190 by Rep. James White creates a pretrial intervention program. The TCCB supports this bill.
    • HB 2386 by Rep. Joe Moody addresses confidentiality of drugs used in executions. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 2591 by Rep. Jeff Leach removes unconstitutional provisions from property records. The TCCB supports this bill.
  • House Public Health, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
    • HB 2211 by Rep. Will Metcalf prohibits hospital from denying in-person visitation. The TCCB supports this bill.

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.