After a theatrical showdown on the Texas House floor, legislation referred to as the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill passed on second reading in the lower chamber of the Texas Legislature on Monday.
Senate Bill 1978 passed last week in the Texas Senate by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola) would bar governments in Texas from discriminating against businesses due to donations they may make to 501(c)(3) organizations. State Rep. Matt Krause (R–Fort Worth), whose similar bill was killed on procedural grounds by Democrats, sponsored the legislation in the House.
Following an attempt to, again, kill the legislation on procedural grounds with several called points of order, the Texas House Democrat Caucus took their time to methodically drag Monday’s proceedings along. Members spoke at length following an attempt to change the language of the bill, bringing the bill’s consideration to more than two hours.
“It’s not a discriminatory bill. There is not discriminatory language in it,” Krause said in his closing remarks. “We need to ensure the government does not discriminate on the basis of a person’s religious beliefs.”
With 79 ayes and 62 nays, the bill was passed to third reading.
Republican State Rep. Sarah Davis (Houston) voted with Democrats on the bill, having also caucused with them to work against pro-life legislation last week.
Democrats have been incredibly vocal on the bill, making it one of the final hills to fight on for their cause this session and ahead of the 2020 elections.
House @texasdemocrats (and one Republican) stood firm again hatred and intolerance in the form of "religious protection."
— Gene Wu (@GeneforTexas) May 20, 2019
The bill would simply expand protections of Texans based on their religious beliefs from the powerful and, often politically motivated, hands of government that may seek to impose punitive actions in a discriminatory manner.
The speed by which the Senate version of the bill has moved through the process over the past week serves as a lesson in how quickly leadership can move a piece of legislation when the will to do so exists in the speaker’s office.
Unfortunately, other priority legislation—such as constitutional carry, pro-life legislation, and election integrity—has failed to receive the same expedited treatment as the Chick-fil-A bill.