New Texas Laws Effective Sept. 1: Save Chick-fil-A Religious Freedom Bill Becomes Law & More

September 1st will see numerous new pro-family laws that passed during the legislative session go into effect. September 1st after a state legislative session is a general date is when most new laws go into effect. The date puts many local governments on notice concerning new laws on faith, family, and freedom.

One of the most talked-about issues and pieces of legislation during the Session was the Save Chick-fil-A religious freedom law.

The Save Chick-fil-A Religious Freedom law, SB 1978, which passed with bipartisan support, protects all Texans, not just Chick-fil-A. The law ensures, just like the First Amendment intended, that no one is discriminated against by the government for associating with, or donating to, a religious organization. The law prohibits state and local governments from denying a contract, loan, scholarship, grant, license, registration, admission to a school or university, or employment because of a business or an individual’s support or donation to a religious organization. SB 1978 was authored by Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Matt Krause.

The #SaveChickfilA religious freedom effort became a statewide and even national movement during the 2019 Texas Legislative Session after the San Antonio City Council banned a Chick-fil-A location from their airport in March because of past donations to the Salvation Army and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Texans, including Governor Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz, expressed their overwhelming support for the Save Chick-fil-A effort with over 150,000 phone calls, emails, and social media messages to the Texas Capitol.

This attack on Chick-fil-A and religious freedom by the San Antonio City Council also has led to an ongoing investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s office and the United States Department of Transportation. San Antonio City Council member Roberto Trevino has refused to reverse the ban on Chick-fil-A in light of this new law. The Mayor, Ron Nirenberg, who was forced into a runoff and barely won re-election because of this issue, has tried to rewrite history in regards to the embarrassment he has brought to the city on by discriminating against a Christian owned business. This law removes all doubt on where Texas stands protecting religious freedom.

Another bill going into effect is SB22 which prohibits transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion provider or affiliate of the provider. Transactions include a sale, purchase, lease, donation of money, goods, services, real property, or any other transaction between a governmental entity and a private entity. SB 22 was authored by Sen. Donna Campbell and Rep. Candy Noble.

Texans saw the need for this law when Austin gave Planned Parenthood rent in a government building for $1 a year for 20 years. Recently, the law has stopped school districts purchasing sex-education curriculum from groups like Planned Parenthood. Discussions are already taking place in Austin ISD about the full impact of this law, and the City of Austin is attempting to bypass the law with a budget proposal donating $150,000 to support abortion.

HB 16, the Texas Born Alive Infant Protection Act protects the life of babies who are born alive after surviving an abortion attempt. Under this bill, doctors must perform the same level of care to babies who survive an abortion as they would to any other baby being born. HB 16 is a clear response to the horrible things we have seen coming from the New York legislature, and comments by the Governor of Virginia. Republicans in Congress have tried more than 80 times to get a vote on this piece of legislation. Texas has now passed it. A key moment was when Texas Values partnered with their friend and abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen, who testified in favor of HB 16. HB 16 was authored by Representative Jeff Leach and Senator Lois Kolkhorst.

The 86th Texas Legislature had many more pro-family and pro religious liberty bills pass. Below are some additional bills that will go into effect September 1, 2019.

SB 18, Free Speech on Campus by Senator Huffman protects the free speech rights of students on college campuses. Colleges and universities will be prohibited from taking action against student organizations based on viewpoints shared among the group’s members. The bill ensures colleges comply with reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions as supported by the First Amendment.

HB 2271 by Rep. Mike Lang is a bill that gives authority to the Attorney General to advertise for Choose Life account grants. Choose Life account grants provide resources for women choosing adoption. The grants are funded through the purchase of pro-life license plates. Previously these grants were not able to be advertised.

SB 24 by Sen. Eddie Lucio ensures that women who are planning to have an abortion receive the Women’s Right to Know booklet, with important information about the child they are carrying. The information must be given “Before any sedative or anesthesia is administered to the pregnant woman on the day of the abortion and at least two hours before the abortion if the woman lives 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion provider.”

HB 902 by Representative Landgraf increases the criminal penalty for assault of a pregnant woman.

HB 1, Alternatives to Abortion 
The Texas Legislature also increased the funding for the D.1.2 Health and Human Services, Alternatives to Abortion program. Under the increase, the Alternatives to Abortion program will receive $29,020,634 for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2020 and $30,855,425 for the fiscal year ending August 31, 2021. Alternatives to Abortion is a program that provides support for pregnant women and supportive parents with the goal of promoting childbirth. Some of the services include counseling, supplies for the baby, and care coordination for prenatal services.

If you’d like to chew on more information about what happened during the 2019 Legislative Session, click here.

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