Dear Fellow Texan,
My name is Bahia Amawi. I am an elementary school speech language pathologist and I lost my job because I refused to go against my principles. I chose to exercise my first amendment right to freedom of speech.
This past year as I was renewing my contract with my school district, an addendum was added. The addendum was based on a new law called House Bill 89. It required me to forgo my free speech rights by forcing me to pledge allegiance to a foreign country (Israel).
The law required that I must swear an oath that I do not currently boycott Israel or plan to boycott Israel during my contract with the school district. What does that mean? Signing the oath would prevent me from doing something as simple as choosing which brand of hummus I buy for my family based on where they are made.
I am currently suing the state of Texas on grounds of violation of my First Amendment rights. Now, a revised bill amending House Bill 89 is pending in the Texas House. It is titled House Bill 793. The proposed bill, if passed, would no longer directly affect individuals. Instead, the law targets Texas companies with 10 or more full-time employees and contracts above $100,000.
HERE IS THE ISSUE:
- House Bill 793 is not a solution to the problems created by House Bill 89. House Bill 793 still prevents businesses that are family and community-owned from exercising their free speech rights.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF HOUSE BILL 793 BECAME LAW?
- It would mean local companies with 10+ full-time employees that seek to do business with their state, their county, their city etc. must limit their right to free enterprise by ensuring that they do not actively avoid doing business with Israel. Stated another way, businesses would be penalized not for their business practices, but for their political views.
- It would also mean that it would be a lot harder to repeal a law that favored the benefits of a single foreign country over the rights of everyday Texans.
I ask my fellow Texans to act. Oppose House Bill 793. This issue speaks to the core of our Constitutional rights and principles. We are blessed to live in a country that values free speech. We also live in a country that embraces diversity of faith, of ideas and of identities. Join me in the fight to preserve the First Amendment rights of every Texan.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
- CLICK HERE TO LOOK UP the names of your state legislators, especially your representative in the Texas House that will be voting on House Bill 793
- Call, write, email and visit your representative to voice your concerns on House Bill 793 using the information above
SHARE THIS INFORMATION
- Spread our message on social media; and
- Share this letter with family, friends, colleagues, faith groups, civil rights organizations and local business organizations.
LEARN ABOUT THE ISSUES
- Learn more about the history of non-violent political protest as an exercise of American values
- Visit the state capitol and learn how to get involved as a member of the public in the process of a bill becoming a law