Part 1: Gun Bills This Week
Tuesday 3/23 House Hearing: School Volunteer Security
The Public Education Committee will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) from 8-10 am and then again after adjournment (probably around 11 am).
- They will hear 10 bills, including one gun-related bill that we support:
- School Volunteer Security: HB 2557 by Rogers — Read bill | See our handout
- Submit comments online. The comment form will close when the hearing ends tomorrow.
Thursday 3/25 House Hearing: Constitutional Carry and more!
- The House Homeland Security Committee will meet this Thursday after adjournment. Generally, these meetings have been starting around 11 am. See hearing notice.
- The hearing includes Constitutional Carry, other gun bills (good and bad), and non-gun-related bills.
- Because Constitutional Carry bills are authored by committee members, they will likely be heard last.
Bills on which GOA is taking a position:
PRIORITY SUPPORT Constitutional Carry: HB 1238 (Biedermann), HB 1911 (White), HB 1927 (Schaefer), HB 2900 (Hefner) — See our handout
- PRIORITY SUPPORT Domestic Violence Victim Defense: HB 1094 (Oliverson) — Read bill | See our handout
- SUPPORT First Responder Carry: HB 1069 (Harris) — See our description
- OPPOSE Ban on Long Gun Carry: HB 127 (Ortega) — See our description
- OPPOSE Public LTC Number Postings: HB 1039 (Goodwin) — See our description
URGENT: Give input on these bills.
Submit comments on these bills online. Start with “I SUPPORT this bill” or “I OPPOSE this bill,” then list 1-3 reasons. The comment form will close when the hearing ends on Thursday.
- Call and email committee members.
- Show up at the hearing in person. Register for/against all the bills listed above, and speak for 2 minutes in support of Constitutional Carry. Text your name to 844-222-7349 to get details and updates.
Part 2: How to Show Up At the Capitol
What to Bring
Comfortable walking shoes
Water bottles and packaged snacks (you might miss your chance to speak if you leave to get food)
- A sweater
- Phone / laptop / tablet and charging cables / power banks
- Something to do while you wait – sometimes you have to wait for hours!
- Dress nicely—but you don’t need to buy new clothes. Be clean and neat. Wear professional clothes if you can; otherwise, slacks or jeans are fine.
- Park at the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage, 1201 San Jacinto – a block away from the Capitol.
- Parking is free for the first two hours, with a maximum of $12 for all day.
- The garage almost always has plenty of space, is wheelchair accessible, and is tall enough for most pickup trucks or large SUVs.
- Only the North entrance is open currently.
- From the parking garage, you can see the Capitol dome. Walk towards the Capitol and around the right side of it to get to the North entrance.
- If you have your LTC, go to the sign for “CARD / CHL ENTRANCE.” Hand them your LTC. They’ll scan it and wave you through.
- Otherwise, stand in line to go through the metal detector. It’s not like the airport; everything legal outside the building is legal inside. You don’t have to take off your shoes.
Finding the Hearing Room
The elevators are just inside, to the right or left.
- The hearing room will be listed on the hearing notice.
- Most hearings are on level E1 or level E2. Those are underground. Take the elevator DOWN to E1 or E2, then walk down the corridor until you see the correct hearing room on the left or right. Rooms numbered .030 or above are all the way at the end.
- See Capitol floorplan maps here.
- Masks are required in hearing rooms but not walking throughout the Capitol.
- COVID tests are NOT required for House hearings, but they ARE required for Senate hearings and for some Senate offices.
- COVID tests are available in the tents outside the North entrance. You insert a swab into your own nose (unsupervised) and you typically get results within 15 minutes. Allow enough extra time.
- If you do not wish to take a COVID test, do not go inside the Senate hearing room – we are happy to find other ways for you to help!
- Some offices require masks, some require appointments in advance, and a few may require COVID tests.
Registering a Position / Registering to Speak
- You will need to register your position on each bill (for/on /against) and indicate whether you wish to speak.
- House hearings: Find the iPad kiosks back behind the hearing rooms. Sign in there. You’ll need to know the committee and the bill number.
- Or go to hwrs.house.texas.gov/ on your tablet while connected to the Capitol wifi.
- It’s easier if you set up an account ahead of time.
- Senate hearings: Most of them use paper cards. Ask the clerk in the hearing room.
- You can use “on” as your position if you like some parts but want them to change it – or if you think it’s good but doesn’t go nearly far enough. Then use your testimony to tell them the changes you want.
Be sure you know what the bill does, and be sure you talk about why THAT BILL is good or bad.
- You can also submit written testimony – try for a handout that summarizes your main points, or adds some data, charts, or links.
- Your testimony should connect with both the head (facts & logic) and the heart (tell your story and how this personally affects you).
- Be specific. Not “please support gun rights” but instead “repeal the license requirement to carry a handgun.”
- Practice saying it in 2 minutes or less.
- Start with your name, your position on the bill, and who you are representing.
- For example: “My name is Rachel Malone, I am testifying in FAVOR of HB 2900, and I am representing myself.”
- You are representing yourself unless you have specific permission from an organization to represent them (or you have authority over the organization to make that decision).
- You cannot officially represent GOA, but you can say in your testimony that you are a GOA member.
- Focus on one main point – don’t try to get everything in.
- Speak clearly, look at the committee members, and end on time especially if they have a timer showing you that your time is up.