In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Bishops issue signatory letter opposing permitless carry of guns...
  • Last week for bills to pass the House...
  • Pro-life, foster care, education and more at stake...
  • And more!

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

There's just a few days left for House bills to be able to pass out of the House for consideration by the Senate, so there's a heightened pace of activity at the Capitol this week. As we mentioned last week, if you have been following a particular issue or bill, now is the time to contact legislators regarding these issues.

While our TCCB staff is working hard to stay on top of all the legislation that is moving, we want to highlight a few bills that could use your support this week.

Oppose a culture of violence

The bishops have signed a public letter to the Legislature, "Oppose HB 1927 and a culture of violence." HB 1927 purports to allow individuals to carry guns without permit or training. Please contact your senator to ask them to oppose this bill. You can find the letter and more information on our website.

Protecting human life

We are very excited that HB 1280, the Human Life Protection Act, authored by Gio Capriglione, will be heard by the full House on Wednesday. This bill bans abortion insofar as the United States Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and/or Planned Parenthood v. Casey in whole or in part. Also being heard on Wednesday is SB 8, the Heartbeat Act, authored by Sen. Bryan Hughes. This bill bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Please contact your representative and ask them to support these bills and protect the rights of unborn Texans!

Support victims

HB 3185, by Rep. Matt Krause, would allow a victim of stalking, family violence, or trafficking, or a dependent of any victim, an immediate family member, or household member to receive a one-time assistance payment for relocation and housing rental expenses that are necessary to protect their health and safety. This bill addresses the needs of victims for restorative justice and deserves our support.

Support children transitioning out of foster care

In this month of May, known as foster care month, it would be especially appropriate for SB 1084 to receive our support. Sen. Powell’s bill requires addressing the unique challenges facing foster children in conservatorship who must transition to living as adults.

Give all children access to UIL extracurricular activities

Did you know some children in our state can't participate in UIL programs? According to the Texas Homeschool Coalition, homeschooling families are not permitted to participate in UIL programs through their public schools, even though homeschool families pay taxes to support UIL programs. UIL programs include traditional sports (football, basketball, etc.), chess, music, debate, wrestling, robotics and more. Watch for our action alert later this week on this issue.

Bills in Committee May 3-7

House Ways and Means Committee, Monday at 10 a.m.
SB 313 by Sen. Joan Huffman allows a sales and use tax exemption for firearm safety equipment. The TCCB supports this bill.

House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, Monday at 1 p.m.
HB 3392 by Rep. Joe Moody allows a court to grant a commutation of punishment to certain individuals serving a term of imprisonment. The TCCB supports this bill.
HJR 135 by Rep. Joe Moody is a constitutional amendment that allows the legislature to provide for a court to grant commutation of punishment to certain individuals serving a term of imprisonment. The TCCB supports this bill.

House Appropriations Committee, Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.
HB 3185 by Rep. Matt Krause allows certain crime victims to be compensated for relocation and house expenses necessary to protest their health and safety. The TCCB supports this bill.

House Human Services Committee, Tuesday at 8 a.m.
SB 271 by Sen. Charles Perry prohibits a licensed assisted living facility from employing someone who refuses to certify that they have not been convicted of certain crimes. The TCCB supports this bill.

Senate Business and Commerce Committee, 8 a.m.
HB 531 by Rep. Armando Walle and Sen. Joan Huffman requires notice for a leased dwelling located in a floodplain. The TCCB supports this bill.

Senate Criminal Justice Committee, 8:30 a.m.
HB 103 by Rep. Brooks Landgraf and Sen. Judith Zaffirini establishes the Texas Active Shooter Alert System. The TCCB supports this bill.
HB 402 by Rep. Ana Hernandez and Sen. Carol Alvarado requires certain funds from criminal asset forfeiture to provide services to domestic victims of trafficking. The TCCB supports this bill.
HB 454 by Rep. Will Metcalf and Sen. Brandon Creighton creates a specialty treatment court program for individuals residing with a child subject of a juvenile court case. The TCCB supports this bill.
HB 569 by Rep. Scott Sanford and Sen. Royce West requires credit toward payment of a fine and costs for certain misdemeanants in jail or prison before sentencing. The TCCB supports this bill.

Senate Education Committee, Tuesday at 9 a.m.
HB 725 by Rep. Jared Patterson and Sen. Judith Zaffirini expands eligibility for free public pre-K programs for children who have ever been in foster care in another state. The TCCB supports this bill.

House Corrections Committee, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
SB 49 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini requires a written report regarding a defendant suspected of having a mental illness or an intellectual disability. The TCCB supports this bill.

House Public Health Committee, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
SB 239 by Sen. Beverly Powell requires the provision of educational materials regarding disease prevention during a disaster. The TCCB supports this bill.
SB 454 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst requires mental health services development plans as updated by local mental health authority groups. The TCCB supports this bill.

Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Wednesday at 8 a.m.
HB 1616 by Rep. Greg Bonnen and Sen. Joan Huffman would create an interstate medical licensure compact. The TCCB supports this bill.
SB 1084 by Sen. Beverly Powell promotes the Adult Living Program and other services for foster children transitioning to independent living. The TCCB supports this bill.

 

Year of St. Joseph, patron of foster parents

Pope Francis declared a Year of St. Joseph for 2021. May, which is recognized as National Foster Care Month, is a wonderful time to promote the church’s St. Joseph Ministry, which builds a community around foster care families. Please consider using these graphics to promote this ministry. SEE MORE GRAPHICS

Upcoming Texas Executions

Quintin Jones - 5/19/21

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.

papal seal

Pope Francis' prayer intention for May

We pray for those who risk their lives while fighting for fundamental rights under dictatorships, authoritarian regimes and even in democracies in crisis.

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.