On Thursday, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill that would prohibit the state from contracting with companies that discriminate against firearm or ammunition companies.
It passed by a vote of 86-60.
The bill was originally authored by State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R–Georgetown) and was sponsored by State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R–Southlake) in the House. It was an announced legislative priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and passed the Senate back on April 15, along purely partisan lines.
In the course of the bill’s debate, Democrat lawmakers argued the bill was in opposition to free speech. Republican lawmakers pushed back to indicate that the bill did not affect private persons or transactions, but merely those that transact business with the state.
Its next step will be to go back to the Senate, where they will determine whether to accept the House amendments or appoint a conference committee to reconcile the differences.
Between 2013 and 2017, Operation Choke Point was a joint program operated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Under that program, the DOJ issued directives to banks to begin restricting access to various banking services for businesses in certain industries, including the firearms and ammunition industries. The program officially ended in 2017, but bank executives and financial institutions seemingly continued the discriminatory banking practices. The bill is an attempt to address those continued practices.
There are less than 20 days left in the 87th Legislative Session.