Legislative Priorities Report for September 1, 2021
Yesterday the House and Senate passed the conference report of SB 1, the Election Integrity omnibus bill. The next stop is Governor Abbott’s desk for his signature! While SB 1 passed both the House and the Senate last week, because the House made changes to the bill, it went to conference. The sole change made in conference was to remove Amendment 58, which provided an “ignorance of the law” defense to felony voter fraud. Overall, Representative Murr and Senator Hughes have passed a bill that should improve integrity in Texas election processes at the county level and adds civil penalties, making it more certain that voting violations will be punished; we are grateful for their hard work getting this bill across the finish line.
Representative Slaton also passed an amendment requiring an audit of certain counties. While the final bill does not require an audit of every county, as many would prefer, this is a start and requires auditing two large counties and two small counties in every November general election of the even numbered years.
Our other legislative priority bill, SB 2, the bill to protect girls’ sports, is apparently dead in the Public Education Committee, which is chaired by Democrat Representative Harold Dutton. This unfortunate predicament is another consequence of important Committees being chaired by Democrats. Compounding the problem is that Republican Rep. Dan Huberty, who also serves on the committee, publicly opposed the bill, depriving it of the needed votes for passage.
HB 5, which provides funding for legislative staff, a 13th check for teachers, and other desired items, has been postponed until Wednesday (today) and could provide needed leverage for the passage of other priorities. There is speculation that HB5 is being held up until two of Governor Abbott’s priority bills, SB2, protecting women’s sports, and SB 3, prohibiting Critical Race Theory in all Texas public school curricula, are passed out of the Public Education Committee.
The State Republican Executive Committee held our quarterly meeting in Lubbock this past weekend. We passed five resolutions, one of which was a resolution demanding that all Democrats who broke quorum be removed as House committee chairmen and vice-chairmen and replaced with Republicans. This desire unifies all segments of the Republican Party of Texas and passed the SREC unanimously.
Representative Vasut has authored HR 72, a House Resolution providing a process for removal of Democrats as Committee Chairs and automatically revoking the seniority of members who evade a Call of the House. On Monday, Chairman Matt Rinaldi held a press conference with the Texas Freedom Caucus, Reps. Slaton, Tinderholt, Lozano, Biederman, and Slawson, as well as SREC Members and grassroots leaders in support of HR 72. You can view the press conference here.
We appreciate our many grassroots and organization members who have made calls to the Speaker’s office on this issue and request that you continue. Democrats must not be allowed to impede the passage of Republican priority bills when Republicans hold a majority in the Legislature.
The SREC also passed a Medical Freedom and Personal Responsibility resolution at their meeting last week which states the Republican Party of Texas opposes all public or private vaccine mandates. While this is not one of our eight Legislative Priorities, one of the fundamental principles of our party platform is the inalienable rights and sovereignty of the individual. No one should be forced to take a vaccine, and to do so puts us firmly down the road toward totalitarianism. We applaud the Governor for banning public vaccine mandates and those pertaining to customers of private businesses that receive public money. We urge him to prohibit private entities from requiring a vaccine of their employees.
- Continue to ask that Democrat committee chairs who broke quorum be removed, and HR 72 passed. Contact Chairman Metcalf at (512-463-0726) and Speaker Phelan at (512-463-1000)
- Call Chairman Dutton (512-463-0510) and Rep. Huberty (512-463-0520) and ask that SB 2, the Save Girl’s Sports bill be passed out of Public Education Committee immediately.
- Continue to ask Governor Abbott to add banning gender modification and banning private vaccine mandates for employees to the Special Session call. (512-463-1782)
Thank you for standing for liberty. We are certainly in difficult days, but Texans are courageous and strong. May God bless each of you and your families.
For God and Texas,
SREC, SD 12
Chair, SREC Legislative Priorities Committee
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