April 8, 2023 (Day 88 of 140 of the 88th Texas Legislature)
Upcoming Bill Hearings Week of April 10
Tuesday, April 11:
SB 1607 – Kolkhorst – Prohibits money transmitters like Paypal from assessing fines against Texans for violating the transmitter’s terms of service. This bill responds to Paypal’s 2022 woke attempt to fine its customers for their speech which Paypal (or its contractors) deemed “misinformation.” (Great Reset)
SB 1621 – Kolkhorst – requires businesses who wish to provide goods or services to a state agency to use E-VERIFY to verify employee information and for its subcontractors to do the same. (Border Security)
Wednesday, April 12:
State Affairs: Border Security Day!
Use this link to comment remotely on State Affairs bills being heard now through close of hearing.
HB 20 – Schaefer – This is the big border security bill for this session. All hands on deck!
The low number designation says that this is a bill supported by the Speaker, but the Texas Legislature needs to know that we appreciate what they are doing whether with testimony, sign-ins at the Capitol showing support without testimony, or via the remote comment capability linked above.
I am sure that a committee substitute will be presented at the hearing (after LOTS of input from numerous stakeholders). I have been told that Rep Schaefer is working hard to make the committee sub language available to the public before the hearing. As soon as I know where we can see it, I will let this group know. I expect that the committee sub will maintain most of its major components with tweaks to implementation and legal details.
The language of the broad and deep filed version of HB 20 does the following:
- Sets up constitutional, independent action by Texas to take effective action by invoking Article I, Sec 3, Clause 3 reservation of self-defense power to the states when we are “in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay” or “unless actually invaded.” HB 20 formally declares that we are in imminent danger under that clause. Note that this will be a combined declaration by the legislature and the governor.
- Creates a Border Protection Unit that will report directly report to the governor, thereby taking pressure of the volunteer resources of the Texas National Guard and the stress on DPS when they are redeployed from protecting their communities to the border.
- Repel - Authorizes the Border Protection Unit to “deter and repel persons attempting to enter the State of Texas illegally at locations outside a port of entry,” to “return aliens to Mexico who have been observed actually crossing the Mexican border illegally, and were apprehended or detained in the immediate vicinity of the border,” and to “use force to repel, arrest, and detain known transnational cartel operatives in the border region.”
- Creates beefed up border trespass offense in the Penal Code – makes it a third degree felony and subject to $10K civil penalty each time a “person knowingly enters property of another without effective consent when knowingly entering the state of Texas from a neighboring jurisdiction.”
- Creates another constitutional way for Texas to act independently by invoking constitutionally clear state authority to protect health. HB 20 incorporates the totality of HB 1491 filed earlier by Rep Brian Harrison. It allows Texas to remove those who cross into Texas outside a port of entry as long as the feds have a vaccination mandate for anyone and “at any time which the U.S. Department of State has a travel-warning for COVID-19 for any country from which citizens have illegally entered the U.S. during the most recent year for which there is available data.”
- Creates a standing Legislative Border Safety Oversight Committee.
HB 82 – Spiller – Interstate Border Security Compact – This bill implements the third sentence of the RPT Legislative Priority on Border Security. This is a different variant of an implementation of an interstate border security compact than Senator Parker’s SB 1403, which has now passed out of the Senate Border Security. The differences between the two are that the filed version of HB 82 says that the compact only takes effect if Congress approves and it focuses on illegal immigration in addition to border security. CSB 1403 does not seek Congressional approval, crafting the content of the compacts in a way that supports not needing Congressional approval. I.e., it steers clear of immigration, focusing instead on border security. I have already suggested language to Rep Spiller amending the bill to not ask for Congressional approval if Texas has declared an actual invasion or imminent danger. After the hearings on SB 1403 and its passage by Senate Border Security, I have provided him an alternative suggestion that he sub CSB 1403 for HB 82. I plan to support moving forward on this bill, no matter what form it takes or remains. I told him that given the path of CSB 1403, it appears that reconciliation will be needed sooner or later, anyway and that sooner is better than later to make sure we get this urgently needed bill passed.
HB 7 – Guillen – creates support for the courts as they deal with the demand from securing the border, beefs up programs for training border protection unit personnel, provides process to fund border facility infrastructure, and duplicates the HB 20 legislative oversight of the Texas border security efforts as we progress. Note that this bill also has the Speaker’s low number designation. I am sure that he views HB 7 and HB 20 as complementary to each other, and presume that committee subs of HB 20 and/or HB 7 will handle any overlapping duplication.
HB 65 – Spiller – increases penalties for human trafficking across the border. I will probably sign in to support this bill without testifying.
Bills that Need Hearings by April 20:
Lots of good bills that will protect the lives and liberty of Texans have been filed this session. See the excellent progress being made in the section below. But because there is a multi-front war on everything we hold dear, even more needs to be done. Here are the big topics where we are stuck on Omaha beach and need a breakout soon. Since the urgent bills on border security are now in motion, I will not be focusing on pushing hearings in that area.
Texas Resistance to Great Reset (ESG, and CBDC)
All three of our bills resisting CBDC and providing alternatives need to be heard ASAP.
- SJR 67 / HJR 146 -- Parker / Capriglione – Right to Use Cash and Cash Substitutes add to Texas Bill of Rights – Because financial crisis and the privacy-destroying, police-state-implementing Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is looming, this is my personal top priority this session (along with the substantive border security bills of SCR 23 and HB 20). SJR 67 is in Senate Business & Commerce. HJR 146 is in author Capriglione’s own House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services Committee.
- SCR 25 / HCR 88 – Parker / Capriglione – Resolution expressing opposition to CBDC. SCR 25 is in Senate Business & Commerce along with SJR 67. HCR 88, however, is assigned not to Capriglione’s committee, but to the jam-packed House State Affairs.
- SB 2334 / HB 4903 – Hughes / Dorazio – Texas establishment of exchangeable digital warehouse receipt backed by gold in the Texas Bullion Depository. Sadly, SB 2334 is assigned to the busy Senate Finance Committee. And HB 4903 is assigned to the busy House State Affairs.
I have confirmed with Senator Parker that he has asked for a hearing on SJR 67 and SCR 25 in Chair Charles Schwertner’s Business & Commerce. Business & Commerce meets on Tuesdays and several weeks this session has also heard bills on Thursdays as well. This Wednesday, I visited the Business & Commerce office, and verbally communicated our urgent request for a hearing on Parker’s bills as soon as possible. Since then, the notice for Tuesday, April 11 is out and our phone still ain’t ringing (although two bills of lower priority that we support are being heard as discussed above.)
I think it time to send polite emails to [email protected] or to urge that SJR 67 and SCR 25 be heard in the next Business & Commerce hearing.
Chair Capriglione will schedule HJR 146 in his own House Pensions, Investments & Financial Services when he thinks best.
I plan to communicate with House State Affairs about HCR 88 and HB 4903, as well as priority bills in other categories, soon. And, I plan to ask Senator Hughes about the needed strategy for SB 2334 and getting it through Senate Finance.
Our flagship legislation in this first area of interest for the group is the Texas Sovereignty Act (HB 384 Cecil Bell/ SB 313 Bob Hall). Both bills have been assigned to the State Affairs Committees in the respective chambers. We have to beat out lots of other bills for timely attention in both committees.
One other bill that in my opinion deserves to make the priority cut is State Rep Mike Schofield’s HB 294, the bill that separates state and local elections from federal elections as a way to head off any weakening of election integrity that comes from the federal level. It is in the House Elections Committee.
See below how many good medical freedom bills are in progress, but there are a lot more that have not gotten hearings. There are three more that I plan to push for hearings:
- HB 107 – Schaefer – Removes open-ended criminal penalties in the Texas Disaster Act. The legislature giving a stick to the executive so that he may define the acts to which the penalties can be applied is a textbook definition of a violation of separation of powers. As a backup, I am trying to get this added into SB 1104 to insure that we get that unconstitutional aspect of existing law fixed.
- SJR 84 / HJR 114 – Hall / Toth – Unalienable right to refuse vaccination added to Texas Bill of Rights. Both bills are assigned to the respective chamber State Affairs Committee. This was our moon-shot for the session. I want it heard this session to get the idea of unalienable rights applied to this topic into public discourse and thereby moving the Overton window.
- SJR 66 – Hall – Recognition of right to refuse medical treatments added to Texas Bill of Rights. In Senate Health & Human Services. This version of addition actually better represents the RPT Medical Freedom platform plank better than our SJR 84 /HJR 114 because it is broader than just vaccination, going to all medical treatments.
Status of Bills Texas Constitutional Enforcement Supports:
Bills on the Move:
- SCR 23 – Kolkhorst – Legislative Declaration of Cartel Invasion – this is the other big bill for this session on border security. It complements HB 20 and sets us up for any challenges to Texas taking independent action to protect its citizens. PASSED OUT OF BORDER SECURITY! The vote on April 5 was unanimous and the bill was placed on the Local and Consent calendar, showing that the expectation is that there are no Texas State Senators that will stand in this bill’s way.
- SB 1403 – Parker – Interstate Border Security Compact – PASSED OUT OF BORDER SECURITY on March 30. See comments about this bill’s relationship to Rep Spiller’s HB 82 above.
- SB 602 – Birdwell – Enables Border Patrol agents to charge for state crimes when arresting and charging for federal crimes. PASSED SENATE. DELIVERED TO HOUSE.
- SB 1427 – Flores – Defines foreign terrorist organization and adds that concept to existing criminal street gang prohibitions. – WAITING ON SENATE FLOOR ACTION.
- SB 1709 – King – Includes transnational criminal organization action in sedition penal statute and increases penalties. – WAITING ON SENATE FLOOR ACTION.
Federal Pushback and Rule of Law
- HB 33 – Landgraf – Prohibits state agencies from participating w feds on regulations on oil & gas not in Texas law. In Federalist 46, Madison called this “refusal to assist officers of the Union.” This protects oil & gas in Texas the way we protected guns last session with HB 2622. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE. ON WAY TO CALENDARS.
- SB 1927 – Hughes – Upgrades State Prosecuting Attorney to be able to independently prosecute election integrity, public integrity (including official oppression), human trafficking, and abortion law in Texas. Best solution for Court of Criminal Appeals decision that said AG could not independently prosecute criminal statutes (especially election integrity) in Texas. WAITING ON SENATE FLOOR ACTION.
Texas Resistance to Great Reset (ESG, and CBDC)
HB 1239 – Oliverson – Stops insurance companies from discriminating using ESG standards. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE. ON WAY TO CALENDARS.
- HB 2837 – Schaefer – Prohibits credit card company surveilling, reporting, or tracking of firearm and ammunition purchases in Texas. HEARD IN COMMITTEE. COMMITTEE SUB BEING WORKED BEFORE COMMITTEE VOTE.
- SB 1060 – Hughes – Prohibits shareholder proposals implementing ESG for insurance companies serving Texas. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE. AWAITING PLACEMENT ON SENATE INTENT CALENDAR.
- SB 1446 – Hughes – Requires Texas pension administrators to only use return to shareholder and not to invest in companies diverting attention to ideological and social goals. HEARD IN COMMITTEE. AWAITING COMMITTEE VOTE.
- SB 1017 – Birdwell – Stops Texas municipalities from regulating use of gas-powered engines and tools. PASSED SENATE. RECEIVE IN HOUSE.
Medical Freedom / Executive Overreach
- HB 44 – Swanson – Prohibits discrimination against Medicaid and CHIP recipients by medical providers based on immunization/vaccination status. IN CALENDARS.
- HB 81 – Harrison -- Informed consent for COVID-19 vax. PENDING IN COMMITTEE.
- SB 177 – Middleton – Companion to HB 81. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE. AWAITING PLACEMENT ON INTENT CALENDAR.
- HB 1313 – Burrows – Texas study of COVID-19 vax adverse reactions. PENDING IN COMMITTEE.
- SB 403 – Springer – Senate companion to HB 1313. PENDING IN COMMITTEE
- SB 29 – Birdwell – For COVID-19, prohibits government vax or mask mandates and lockdowns of business or schools. PASSED SENATE. RECEIVED IN HOUSE.
- SJR 58 – Birdwell – Constitutional amendment to require legislative involvement in large-scale disasters after 30 days. PASSED SENATE. RECEIVED IN HOUSE.
- SB 1104 – Birdwell – Implements SJR 58. Prohibits future lockdowns. During disasters, only allows during first 30 days of disaster only, suspension of the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and Election Code to extend early voting by mail or for voters to deliver mail ballots to voting clerk on or before election day. Preempts localities from conflicting with state or expanding scope beyond state during disasters. PASSED SENATE. RECEIVED IN HOUSE. Note that I am in conversation with House sponsor, Rep Slawson, to urge additional protections be added to this bill.
- SB 1024 – Kolkhorst – the most comprehensive medical freedom bill filed this session. HHS Chair Kolkhorst is using this bill to consolidate lots of medical freedom ideas. PENDING IN COMMITTEE.
- SB 426 – Paxton – Stops Texas Medical Board from taking action against physicians who prescribe off-label drugs for COVID-19. PASSED SENATE. RECEIVED IN HOUSE.
- SB 301 – Hall – Stops disciplinary action against health care providers and pharmacists for prescribing and dispensing hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin. PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE. ASSIGNED TO SENATE LOCAL & CONSENT CALENDAR.
- SB 299 – Hall – Allows patients to be attended in hospital by physician who is not a member of hospital’s medical staff. PENDING IN COMMITTEE.
- SB 265 – Perry – Requires Texas reporting into FDA MedWatch Reporting System of vaccine adverse events for experimental or FDA emergency use vaccines. PENDING IN COMMITTEE.
Decisions are being made every day at the Texas Capitol that can protect Texans from the multi-pronged assaults on our lives, prosperity, children, way of life, and liberty. We are in the thick of battle, and focused attention and action over the next few weeks can benefit generations of Texans yet to come.