Archive for May, 2017

Governor Abbott Signs ‘Sermon Safeguard’ Measure into Law

A bill that would provide sermon safeguards for Texas preachers is now law.


During a church service in Houston on Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott ceremoniously signed the Sermon Protection Act.
The measure would prohibit a governmental entity from issuing a subpoena for a religious sermon, and compelling a pastor or religious leader to testify regarding their sermon.
It goes into effect immediately.
Both Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick were in Houston Sunday morning. They each gave brief sermons to the congregation of Grace Woodlands Church, before signing the legislation.


“Texas law now will be your strength and your sword and your shield,” Abbott told the congregation.


A ceremonial signing in Houston is symbolic for Abbott. In 2014, five local pastors in the city were subpoenaed by then-Houston Mayor Annise Parker, after they led an opposition to the city’s now defunct anti-discrimination ordinance — HERO.


Abbott, who was Attorney General at the time, said the move was a direct assault on the First Amendment.
Parker eventually dropped the subpoenas and in 2015, Houston voters approved repealing the city’s equal rights ordinance.

Posted by Jill Ament



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Texas Lawmakers Reach Budget Compromise

After months of back and forth and private meetings over how best to craft a state budget for the next two years, Texas budget negotiators have reached a compromise.


“We have reached consensus on an appropriations plan that prioritizes education, addresses our transportation needs, helps our most vulnerable children, continues our advances in mental health and makes sure we have secure borders and safe communities,” Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said.


One of the biggest sticking points has been whether to tap into the state’s savings account to help fill a $2.5 billion budget gap – or – delay dollars from the state’s highway fund. The ten member committee tasked with merging the two chambers’ ideas decided to do both, using about $1 billion from the Rainy Day Fund and another $1.8 billion from an accounting trick related to transportation funding approved in 2015.


“This budget adheres to the principles of fiscal responsibility that drive our economic success. It puts Texans first and keeps our state moving in the right direction.” Sen. Nelson added.


Budget negotiators decided to maintain border security funding at $800 million.


On education, it appears public schools will get about a $530 million boost. That’s well below the $1.9 billion the House wanted to infuse in public education.


Higher education also took a hit – but for now maintains a program known as special items.


Another highlight includes the film incentives program which lawmakers once zeroed out. The program ended up coming away with some funding for the next two years.


The compromise budget will still need to be approved by both chambers before it heads to the governor’s desk.


Posted by Karina Kling




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