Bill Text: TX HB3172 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relating to the protection of membership in and support to religious organizations.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 69-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-05-09 - Returned to committee [HB3172 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB3172-Introduced.html
  86R12936 YDB-F
 
  By: Krause H.B. No. 3172
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the protection of religious beliefs and moral
  convictions, including beliefs and convictions regarding marriage.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Title 10, Government Code, is amended by adding
  Subtitle H to read as follows:
  SUBTITLE H.  PROHIBITED ADVERSE ACTIONS BY GOVERNMENT
  CHAPTER 2400. PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AND
  MORAL CONVICTIONS
         Sec. 2400.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Adverse action" means any action taken by a
  governmental entity to:
                     (A)  withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or
  otherwise deny any grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative
  agreement, loan, scholarship, license, registration,
  accreditation, employment, or other similar status from or to a
  person;
                     (B)  withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or
  otherwise deny any benefit provided under a benefit program from or
  to a person;
                     (C)  alter in any way the tax treatment of, cause
  any tax, penalty, or payment assessment against, or deny, delay, or
  revoke a tax exemption of a person;
                     (D)  disallow a tax deduction for any charitable
  contribution made to or by a person;
                     (E)  deny admission to, equal treatment in, or
  eligibility for a degree from an educational program or institution
  to a person; or
                     (F)  withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or
  otherwise deny access to a property, educational institution,
  speech forum, or charitable fund-raising campaign from or to a
  person.
               (2)  "Benefit program" means any program administered
  or funded by a governmental entity or federal agency that provides
  assistance in the form of payments, grants, loans, or loan
  guarantees.
               (3)  "Governmental entity" means:
                     (A)  this state;
                     (B)  a board, commission, council, department, or
  other agency in the executive branch of state government that is
  created by the state constitution or a statute, including an
  institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003,
  Education Code;
                     (C)  the legislature or a legislative agency;
                     (D)  the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of
  Criminal Appeals, a state judicial agency, the State Bar of Texas,
  or a court in this state;
                     (E)  a political subdivision of this state,
  including a county, municipality, or special district or authority;
  or
                     (F)  an officer, employee, or agent of an entity
  described by Paragraphs (A)-(E).
               (4)  "Person" has the meaning assigned by Section
  311.005, except the term does not include:
                     (A)  an employee of a governmental entity acting
  within the employee's scope of employment;
                     (B)  a contractor of a governmental entity acting
  within the scope of the contract; or
                     (C)  an individual or a medical or residential
  custodial health care facility while the individual or facility is
  providing medically necessary services to prevent another
  individual's death or imminent serious physical injury.
         Sec. 2400.002.  ADVERSE ACTION PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding
  any other law, a governmental entity may not take any adverse action
  against any person based wholly or partly on a person's belief or
  action in accordance with the person's sincerely held religious
  belief or moral conviction, including beliefs or convictions
  regarding marriage.
         Sec. 2400.003.  RELIEF AVAILABLE. (a)  A person may assert
  an actual or threatened violation of Section 2400.002 as a claim or
  defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain:
               (1)  compensatory damages;
               (2)  injunctive relief;
               (3)  declaratory relief; and
               (4)  any other appropriate relief, including
  reasonable attorney's fees.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other law, a person may commence an
  action under this section and relief may be granted regardless of
  whether the person has sought or exhausted available administrative
  remedies.
         Sec. 2400.004.  IMMUNITY WAIVED. A person who alleges a
  violation of Section 2400.002 may sue the governmental entity for
  the relief provided under Section 2400.003. Sovereign or
  governmental immunity, as applicable, is waived and abolished to
  the extent of liability for that relief.
         Sec. 2400.005.  ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTION; INTERVENTION IN
  PROCEEDING. (a)  The attorney general may bring an action for
  injunctive or declaratory relief against a governmental entity or
  an officer or employee of a governmental entity to enforce
  compliance with this chapter.
         (b)  This section may not be construed to deny, impair, or
  otherwise affect any authority of the attorney general or a
  governmental entity acting under other law to institute or
  intervene in a proceeding.
         (c)  The attorney general may recover reasonable expenses
  incurred in bringing, instituting, or intervening in an action
  under this section, including court costs, reasonable attorney's
  fees, reasonable investigative costs, witness fees, and deposition
  expenses.
         Sec. 2400.006.  INTERPRETATION. (a)  This chapter may not be
  construed to preempt a state or federal law that is equally or more
  protective of the free exercise of religious beliefs and moral
  convictions or to narrow the meaning or application of a state or
  federal law protecting the free exercise of religious beliefs and
  moral convictions.
         (b)  This chapter may not be construed to prevent a
  governmental entity from providing, either directly or through a
  person who is not seeking protection under this chapter, any
  benefit or service authorized under state or federal law.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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