This is our first blog post and we’re coming out with a bang. The 2019 Texas Legislative session is under way and there are bills that we NEED people to be aware of and the potential impact they could have on our community.
We also NEED people to do two things: 1) know what’s coming (read the list below and stay tuned for more posts), and 2) TAKE ACTION! Call your state representatives* and let them know that you, as a constituent in their area, don’t support these bills and ask them not to support them either.
Here are a few BAD BILLS that have potential to negatively impact our community - some could even be life-threatening, but bottom-line, these are trying to push through legal support for discrimination:
HB 1035 - Zedler, Cain, Stickland: Relating to protecting freedom of conscience from government discrimination. (Freedom to Believe Act)
Ability to withhold marriage certificates, school diplomas, etc.
Allowing discrimination in the workplace by calling it freedom of expression.
Discusses restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, locker rooms, "other intimate facilities". (SB6)
Allows healthcare professionals to refuse to treat a patient due to religious beliefs.
Calls for gender to be defined as biological sex.
HB 1910 - Dean: Relating to consideration of a child's gender identity or expression in suits affecting the parent-child relationship and other proceedings involving children.
Judicial case in Ohio where a trans boy was able to transition after grandparents were awarded custody instead of staying with non-affirming parents. - Would not happen under this law in TX
SB 444 - Perry, Birdwell, Hughes: Relating to discrimination by a state agency against an applicant for or holder of an occupational license.
A counselor performing conversion therapy and has had complaints filed could continue to practice by claiming it's their religious belief.
SB 85 - Hall: Psychologists Religious Freedom to deny services
Don't agree with a person being trans - won't sign off on their letter needed for paperwork.
Can refuse to see same sex couples, a Jewish couple, a child that has divorced parent, etc.
SB 1107 - Kolkhurst: Relating to the right of conscientious refusal of a health care service.
An EMT/ER can refuse to provide critical help due to religious beliefs
A male doctor can refuse to see an unwed/divorced womxn.
A medical professional can refuse to see a Jewish person.
SB 15 - Creighton, Buckingham, Campbell: NDO and paid sick time removal and barring.
Removing authority from local democracy
Same sex couple could be denied spouse benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
A trans man could be denied leave to recover from a medically-necessary hysterectomy when a cisgender (not transgender) female colleague is granted leave for the same procedure.
(Bill overviews provided by TENT - Transgender Education Network of Texas)
*Not sure who your state lawmakers are? Click here or go to capitol.texas.gov and enter your address into the space in the far right column. Once you click search, you’ll be taken to a page that lists ALL your state representatives - you’re looking specifically for the Texas House Representative and Texas Senate Representatives. Click on their names to find their office contact information.
Nervous and not sure what to say? Follow these steps:
Take a deep breath - you got this!
Once you make the call and someone answers, introduce yourself and state that you are a constituent in their district. (They will probably ask you to provide your address for verification that you are from their district.)
Explain that you are a part of the LGBTQIA community or an ally/advocate and want to share your thoughts on a few bills that are proposing to legally support discrimination.
List out the bills (for example, just say SB1107, you don’t have to list the names of the bill sponsors unless they ask).
Highlight the impact of the discrimination - meaning how would it negatively effect you or your loved ones.
If you aren’t sure, ask where your representative stands on the issue - do they plan to oppose the bill? You will probably get a “political” answer, meaning they may not give you a direct answer to your question, but it is worth asking.
Answer any questions they may have for you.
Thank them for taking your call.
If no one answers, leave a message! Include your name and let them know the bills you would like to discuss. Leave your contact information so they can call you back.
And finally, it needs to be stated, as a 501(c)3 non profit organization PFLAG does not endorse or oppose any candidate elected to or seeking election for political office. In short, our mission is to support, educate our community and advocate for equality. We will never tell you which politicians to support or oppose, we are just going to do our best to tell you about the current topics and issues to discuss.