* * * LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 5/1/15 * * *
Pro-life bills have been moving in the Texas legislature, and many are likely to be passed before the last gavel falls on at the end of the session on June 1. Before a bill can become law, it must be considered in both a house and a senate committee. More than a dozen pro-life bills have been considered by committees so far, with more hearings likely in the very near future. Eight pro-life bills have been voted out of committees, and three are scheduled to be considered on the House or Senate floor next week with others likely soon afterward.
For example, the House State Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), has considered 12 pro-life bills and already voted out eight. The House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, chaired by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo), has considered two pro-life bills and voted out both.
In the Senate, two pro-life bills were considered in committee last week. One or both could be on considered by the full Senate next week.
The House and Senate have each passed versions of HB 1, the General Appropriations Act, with numerous pro-life provisions.
“We are on track to have a sensational legislative session,” said TAL’s executive director Dr. Joe Pojman. “I have never seen so many pro-life bills moving through the legislative process before. The leadership of Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and their pro-life lieutenants like Rep. Jim Keffer and Sen. Charles Schwertner have been critical to making this possible.”
Among the highlights —
- HB 3074 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) to give patients the right to food and water has been voted out of the House State Affairs Committee after Texas Alliance for Life and other major pro-life organizations agreed to the language of the bill. Currently 80 (of 150) House members have publicly endorsed it HB 3074 will likely be on the House floor in a week or less.
- The House will consider HB 416 by Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Spring) on Wednesday. That bill requires abortion facility workers and volunteers to undergo training to identify and assist victims of sex trafficking. The Senate companion bill, SB 1873, authored by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), was given a public hearing on Monday in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), and is expected to be voted out soon.
- HB 3446, by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker), to require abortion facilities to post signs providing information to trafficking victims has also passed out of the House State Affairs Committee and will be on the House floor soon.
- HB 2351, by Rep. Patricia Harless (R-Spring), will be considered by the full House on Thursday. That pro-life bill requires hospitals to adopt and implement ethics committee policies to prevent discrimination and conflicts of interest or risk $25,000 fines.
- HB 3008, by Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Denton), to eliminate “wrongful birth” lawsuits (in which parents claim they were not given sufficient information about a child’s disabilities in time to have an abortion) was considered in the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee on Tuesday and voted out with uncommon speed the very next day.
- HB 3994, by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), will reform the “judicial bypass” process that allows judges to permit doctors to perform secret abortions on girls 17 years of age and younger, without parental knowledge or consent. The bill is expected to be considered on the House floor in a week or so.
- HB 3130, by Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown), will remove abortion from insurance plans in the Obamacare exchange. A similar bill by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), SB 575, could be on the Senate floor next week.
To keep track of these and other pro-life bills, watch for these emails, visit our Facebook page, and Twitter.