The Log Cabin Republicans of Texas, after careful and thorough deliberation, has adopted the following positions on a selected set of Senate and House bills introduced in the 2019 legislative session. After canvassing all our member chapters, the Board of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas deemed these selected bills to be of special importance to its members across the state, and to the people of Texas as a whole. The Board evaluated each bill in relation to the core values and beliefs of the Republican Party, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights; and to the mission of the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas. We respect the important and difficult work of every legislator, and thank each one for his or her service to our state.
HB 980 & SB 152 – Freedom of Conscience & Religious Belief – 1
Prohibitions on personal conduct based solely on religious or moral beliefs cannot be the basis of laws employed against persons who do not subscribe to those beliefs. Furthermore, these bills merely codify in state law what is already the supreme law of the land. Therefore, we support HB 980 & SB 152 on the grounds that they simply reinforces basic First Amendment rights, and call for a vote of ‘yes.
SB 17 (formerly 444) – Freedom of Conscience & Religious Belief – 2
Penalties and substantial burdens against persons who decline to subscribe to beliefs supported by the state, or espoused by a majority or any subset of citizens, are a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. SB 17 (formerly 444) is view-point neutral and protects all Texans equally against a state effort to deny equal economic opportunity or livelihood based on their religious beliefs or moral conscience, without endangering the well-being of any person. Therefore, we support SB 17 on the grounds that it simply reinforces First Amendment rights, and call for a vote of ‘yes.
HB 357 – Constitutional Carry & Reciprocity
Whereas the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is indispensable to liberty, reforming state law to ensure that it is in line with the intent of our founding fathers is not only important to the Log Cabin Republican of Texas, but to all Texans. We support the passage of this bill on the grounds that it reinforces and strengthens our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and call for a vote of ‘yes.’
HB 171, 182 & SB 247 – Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is as vital as the First and Second in securing the liberty against abuse of government powers by the state against its citizens, and the proliferation of cases where law enforcement agencies employ forfeiture to take someone’s property then sell it, and keep the profits to fund their departments has alarmed criminal justice advocates and scholars across the political spectrum. A unanimous recent Supreme Court decision against this excess reaffirms the validity of these concerns. While HB 171 and HB 182 are modest in their reform, they are an improvement on current state law, and so we call for a vote of ‘yes.’
SUPPORT IN PRINCIPLE
HB 2, HB 705, & SB2 – Property Tax Reform
And strongly encourage the careful review of these bills that offer the promise of long called for tax reform of a taxation system that currently heavily burdens many Texas unfairly, and in some cases, beyond their ability to retain their property.
IMPORTANT BILLS REQUIRING CRITICAL REVISION
HB 188 – Non-Discrimination in Housing
Ensuring every Texan’s ability to secure housing is a goal every Texan can support, and HB 188 aims to secure it for everyone regardless of sexual orientation or self gender-identification. However, SECTION 8, Paragraph (a) (2) significantly intrudes on a religious organization’s right to determine what is appropriate sexual conduct, or whether biology or a personal declaration is the primary determinant of someone’s sex or gender. This one element poses a serious impediment to what could be an important advance in housing rights in the state of Texas, and strongly urge the bill be revised accordingly.
HB 1035 – Freedom of Conscience & Religious Belief – 3
Planks 304 and 310 legitimate defense of freedom of conscience, of the platform of the Republican Party of Texas, almost get voice in this bill. Unfortunately, the authors of the bill aim the bill at protecting only one specific point of view to the exclusion of all others, excluding from protection even other points of view that the authors of the bill themselves may have on different matters. This is not only unfair, but also dangerously shortsighted. The bill’s goal of defending freedom of conscience for one group of people can only be, and likely should be, legitimately attained by defending and securing that same freedom of conscience for all Texans.
WHAT WE STAND FOR
* A strong national defense, and in the Second Amendment right of every citizen to bear arms.
* Low taxes, tight fiscal responsibility, and scarce regulations appropriate to a limited government.
* The First Amendment rights of free speech, religious liberty, and freedom of association, and of one’s right to property.
* The legal and political equality for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity status, under the framework of the Republican principles of limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility.
We believe in working with Republicans of all stripes to define new, principled constitutional answers to address the many issues confronting the party today, rather than have them settled for us by those who favor more government intrusive solutions.
Log Cabin Republicans of Texas believe that we must win the war of ideas, with Republican ideas, and that we must all as Americans join to achieve an evermore perfect advance towards the party’s wise and wonderful stated commitment to the ideals of limited government, freedom of belief and conscience, of the autonomous, self-reliant individual – of what it means to possess true personal independence; and that under our Creator and under our law, “all men are created equal.” That in advancing that common cause, we will make the party stronger, and thus help secure the future of our country, which after all, is the whole point of our party’s existence.
Join us in working together to advance Republican principles.
Michael Baker, Chairman