The Texas Legislator Passes Sweeping New Bills

Texas senators and representatives have been busy in the 86th legislative season, which ends on May 27. They’ve passed and are working on a number of bills that will affect life for residents within the state.

Senate Bill 1978, better known as the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill, passed in a 79-64 vote on Tuesday, May 21.

Senator Bryan Hughes, a Republican, wrote the controversial bill. By law, it would prevent the government from taking action against businesses and individuals, including government employees, because of their religious affiliations and donations.

On the surface, this seems like a positive law. Opponents claim that it creates a loophole that would allow discrimination against LGTBQ groups and individuals. The cosponsors of the bill disagree, publicly stating that its sole purpose is to protect religious liberties.

According to Texastribune.org, they claim that it’s needed because of a recent incident involving the San Antonio City Council. In March, the council approved a contract for updating the San Antonio International Airport. There was one catch — the new concessions area would only be allowed if it didn’t include a Chick-fil-A, which is known for its religious leanings.

Governor Greg Abbott has indicated that he intends to sign the bill into law.

Meanwhile, the House added a number of amendments to Senate Bill 11. This school safety bill was inspired by the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

The bill would greatly expand mental health programs and screening for students. It would also give school employees access to more emergency services, including in-class phones.

If it becomes law, it would require schools to update their curriculum to include courses on things like mental health, domestic violence, and suicide prevention.

The House passed its version of the bill by an overwhelming majority of 128-14. It will next go back to the Senate for review. The Senate can either agree to the House’s amendments or work to create a compromise.