State and local government entities will no longer have the power to restrict personal freedoms as they did during the height of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic scare under legislation endorsed by the Texas Senate.

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic revealed federal, state, and local governments eager to restrict personal rights and freedoms by forcing businesses to close and requiring mask and vaccine mandates.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, state and local governments around the country have continued chipping away at personal freedoms under the guise of protecting personal health.

As mandates and shutdowns began slowly being lifted in Texas, the possibility of state and local governments repeating these mandates and closures in the future lingers.

To prevent future power grabs, State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R–Granbury) filed Senate Bill 29, with the other 18 Republican state senators signing on as co-authors.

Birdwell’s legislation was named as a priority for both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott, and senators approved the measure this week in a vote of 20-10.

All Republican members voted in favor, with one Democrat, Sen. Cesar Blanco of El Paso, joining them. All other Democrat members voted against it (State Sen. Royce West of Dallas was not present).

Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi applauded the Senate in a social media post, calling the vote “excellent.”

Texans for Vaccine Choice also voiced approval for the Senate’s passing of the bill.

“We are grateful that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick prioritized this legislation, and thank Senator Birdwell for carrying this bill,” said Michelle Evans, legislative director for TFVC.

“TFVC wholeheartedly supports SB 29 and is excited to see it pass through the House, but we cannot allow this bill to be our endgame for this session,” Evans continued. “There is still a lot of work to be done not just to course correct from the pandemic, but also to ensure that our state and its citizens are in a stronger position to defend medical liberty in the future.”

The Senate measure faces an uncertain future in the Texas House.

Similar legislation, House Bill 81, was filed in that chamber by State Rep. Brian Harrison (R–Midlothian). HB 81 was left pending in committee after a hearing on March 20.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.