GOA Texas Bullet: 1-25-2021
- Constitutional Carry, HB 1238 by Rep. Kyle Biedermann – repeals the requirement to get a permit to carry a gun, allowing open or concealed carry for anyone who can legally purchase a gun in the same places where LTC holders can currently carry
- Constitutional Carry by Constitutional Amendment, SJR 24 by Sen. Bob Hall – proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution to prohibit the Legislature from requiring a license to carry.
- Domestic Violence Victim Defense, HB 1094 by Rep. Tom Oliverson – recognizes that a piece of paper doesn’t protect a victim, and allows anyone 18+ who is protected under a protective order and can legally possess a firearm to carry a handgun without a license and in “gun-free” zones.
- See initial list of GOA priority legislation.
Public Participation in the Legislative Process
- During the first week of session, the House and the Senate each approved a set of rules (HR 4, SR 1 & SR 2).
- The Senate requires members of the public to show a negative COVID test before attending a committee hearing or entering the gallery. Each Senate office will decide its own requirements for meetings with constituents.
- The House will not require testing, but is focusing on mask requirements.
- The Senate will allow testimony via videoconference for Redistricting hearings, and all House committees can allow invited testimony by video. However, neither chamber has made a move to allow any other video testimony.
- House committees must allow the public to give written statements on the public record on bills set for a committee hearing and must post those statements online.
- The House adopted a new set of emergency rules which are in place currently and will remain in place until the House votes to deactivate them. Under these rules, House committees do not have to allow the public to testify or attend hearings in person and can simply broadcast a committee hearing online.
Amendments Shot Down
- Several Representatives moved to amend the House Rules to help increase public participation and get important business done.
- Rep. Tinderholt moved to require committees to vote on moving a bill out of committee at the request of the bill author. Many bills die because the committee chair refuses to call for a vote. This amendment died on a 21-122 vote (House Journal page 175).
- Rep. Slaton moved to require the House to vote on whether to abolish abortion before voting on renaming highways and bridges. Rep. Tinderholt moved to amend Slaton’s motion to require the House to vote on the Texas GOP priorities – including Constitutional Carry – before voting on renaming highways and bridges. Tinderholt’s amendment died on a point of order; Slaton’s motion died on a 41-99 vote. (House Journal pages 191-93).
- Rep. Vasut and Rep. Biedermann each moved to reduce the mask requirements. Their amendments died on 23-119 votes. (House Journal pages 193-96.)
- Rep. Cason moved to require committees to always allow in-person testimony. His amendment died on a 40-102 vote. (House Journal page 197).
NOTE: The House now requires 3 members to request a record vote in which the names of representatives who voted each way are recorded in the House Journal. Thanks to Reps. Biedermann, Cason, and Slaton for requesting a record vote on all of these amendments. Click the House Journal links to read the recorded votes.
In Their Own Words
- “Self defense is a fundamental right of all humans and you should not have to rely on the government to access that right.” (Rep. Kyle Biedermann, announcing the filing of HB 1238, Constitutional Carry).
- “It is past time for the Texas Legislature to recognize that requiring a permit does not make us safer—it only makes victims more vulnerable.” (Texas Director Rachel Malone on the filing of HB 1238.)
- “[HB 1238] would remove the ‘Mother, may I?’ to the government to get your permit.” (Paul Lathrop, interviewing Rachel Malone on the Daily Bullet, 1/25/21.)
- “If legislators decide to show up, pay attention to the people of Texas, and work hard to pass legislation that restores our liberties – that’s how we’ll know they mean business.” (Rachel Malone in the Houston Courant.)