Bills to talk with your state reps about

The week of February 20 through 24 is a “district work week,” meaning our congressmen and senators are working in their district rather than in Austin.  We encourage you to contact them to share your views on current legislation.

Immigrant Rights: Refugees and Asylum seekers are legal designations for individuals who are fleeing persecution. These legal statuses are only awarded after a lengthy screening process, and refugees have the right to work and wish to pay taxes. Texas is one of the most hospitable states for Refugees and Asylees, and the proposed legislation HB will only disenfranchise these legal immigrants, and make it difficult for them to be able to live and become productive members of the community. These bills act against the state, and the people of Texas’, best interests. All three should be opposed.

Bills in Question: HB 580, HB 581, and HB 582 are a package of bills that would change, among other things, the process, appearance, and longevity of state photo IDs and drivers’ licenses for refugee and asylees.

Why Your Representative Should Oppose:

1) Unconstitutional/ Challenges/Discriminatory: these bills would enshrine in state law discriminatory practices that would open the state to costly Constitutional legal challenges under Equal Protection grounds

2) Will Cause Problems for Employers/Landlords: most employers and landlords in Texas require State ID; a work permit isn’t sufficient for identification needs. These bills will prohibit Refugees from being able to work and finding housing.

3) Ineffective/ Wasteful Legislation: creating these new IDs is a waste of precious public resources to address a problem that doesn’t exist and only fosters fear mongering.

Request to Texas State Representative: We request that you OPPOSE Anti-Refugee Legislation.

Request to the Texas State Senator: We request that you OPPOSE Anti-Refugee Legislation

Support Religious Freedom by OPPOSING HB 45 AND HB 498 (Anti Foreign Law)

This UNNECESSARY “Anti-Foreign Law” Bill is discriminatorily geared towards targeting Texas Muslims with an incorrect interpretation of “Shariah law”. Shariah law is a way of life for many Muslims. It is how we marry, how we interact with the community, how we “Kosher” our meat, and how we abide the laws where we live in, including Texas and the United States. The legal consensus from across the country is that such anti-foreign law bans are unnecessary and unconstitutional, act against the interest of the State, and should be rejected.

Bills in Question: HB 45 and HB 498

Why Your Representative Should Oppose:

1) This will be the 4th time such a bill will be introduced in the Texas Legislature and it will most likely fail again. We send our Representatives to Austin for them to pursue effective legislative efforts, not baseless fearmongering efforts which have been proven to fail.

2) These bans send a message that a state is unreceptive to foreign businesses and minority groups, particularly Muslims. And, as this report details, these bans sow confusion about a variety of personal and business arrangements.

3) The issues raised by foreign law bans may lead to decades of litigation as state courts examine their consequences and struggle to interpret them in ways that avoid constitutional concerns and discrimination against all minority faiths.

  • Request to Texas State Representative: Oppose Representative Flynn and Representative Fallon’s unnecessary HBs 45 & 498
  • Request to Texas State Senator: Oppose Representative Flynn and Representative Fallon’s unnecessary HBs 45 & 498

Standing with Israel/Anti- BDS

Standing with Israel: State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, filed a bill preventing the state from approving contracts with companies boycotting Israel. The proposal will require a company to sign off on a statement that it does not boycott Israel and will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract. Private business owners may boycott investing in Israel due to conscientious objections to practices by the government.

However one may feel about boycotting Israel or Israeli settlements, all such boycotts by private individuals and their businesses are personal decisions and fall under the category of constitutionally-protected free speech.

Bills in Question: HB 89 and SB 134

Why Your Representative Should Oppose:

1) This is an anti-business bill, and will hinder the State and private business owners from entering into the most economically beneficial business contracts.

2) This bill is unconstitutional, and will most likely be challenged, due to the following reasons:

Protected Free Speech: The U.S. Constitution (Amendment I and Amendment XIV) bars Congress or any state from “abridging the freedom of speech.”

The Supreme Court (most notably in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. 458 U.S. 886 (1982) ruled clearly that economic boycott is protected free speech.

Unconstitutional-conditions: According to the unconstitutional-conditions doctrine, as articulated clearly by the Supreme Court (in Perry v. Sindermann 408 U.S. 593 (1972):

“…if the government could deny a benefit to a person because of his constitutionally protected speech or associations, his exercise of those freedoms would in effect be penalized and inhibited. This would allow the government to ‘produce a result which [it] could not command directly.’ Speiser v. Randall, 357 U. S. 513, 357 U. S. 526. Such interference with constitutional rights is impermissible.”

Vagueness: The “void for vagueness” or “overbroad” doctrine hold that a law is unenforceable if its terms are so vague of overbroad that the average citizen could not be certain what conduct is or is not permitted.

Chilling Effect: Chilling effect is defined as follows: “In constitutional law, the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of a constitutional right, especially one protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, by the potential or threatened prosecution under, or application of, a law or sanction.” As articulated by Justice Brennan in his dissent on Walker v. City of Birmingham 388 U.S. 307 (1967):

3) Bills similar to these have been opposed by the Harvard Law Review, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the ACLU, the National Coalition Against Censorship, the LA Times Editorial board, and by Pro-Israeli Groups such as the ADL and APN.

  • Request to Texas State Representative: OPPOSE Rep. King’s unconstitutional HB 89
  • Request to Texas State Senator: OPPOSE Sen. Creighton’s unconstitutional SB 134

Protect Young People from Cyber-Bullying by Supporting “David’s Law”

Cyber Bullying is a phenomenon young people across the State face every day, and which has led to suicide. This type of has been difficult to track, prevent and prosecute until now due to our current laws. Texas laws need to keep pace with evolving technology. Students like David Molak and Matt Vasquez were being harassed and threatened on social media not in the gym locker room. David’s Law will empower school administrators and law enforcement to go after and reprimand the bullies who prey on students, while focusing on rehabilitation.

Bills in Question: HB 304, HB 305, HB 306, SB 179, SB 180, SB 181

Why Your Representatives Should Support:

1)    Provides Schools with Tools: It would give schools the power to investigate off-campus bullying, create an anonymous tip line, and allow for schools to have more latitude in punishing students who have committed serious cyber bullying such as encouraging someone to commit suicide.

2)    # of victims will decrease: Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers.

3)    Provide Police with Tools: It will allow law enforcement, through subpoenas, an increased ability to unmask anonymous social media users who send threatening messages or make threatening posts. It will make it a misdemeanor to electronically harass or bully anyone under the age of 18 through text messages, social media, websites, apps, or other means.

4) Provide Parents & Students with Tools: Parents will be notified by schools if their child is a victim of Cyber Bullying. Counseling and rehabilitation services will be offered for victim and the aggressor.

  • Request to Texas State Representative: SUPPORT Representative Minjarez’s proposed legislation known as David’s Law (HB 304, HB 305, HB 306).
  • Request to Texas State Senator: SUPPORT Senator Menendez’s proposed legislation known as David’s Law (SB 179, SB 180, SB 181).


Distracted Driving: Texas remains one of only four states without a statewide ban on texting and driving. Rep. Craddick, Rep. Lucio, and Sen. Zaffirini are introducing bills which seek to remedy that. The bills seek to make it illegal to text in a vehicle unless the vehicle is not driving. The bill has widespread support from the community, medical professionals, and safety advocates. The State and individuals would benefit greatly from such a law, and these efforts should be supported.  

Bills in Question: SB 31, HB 62, HB 160

Why Your Representatives Should Support:

1)    Safety: Texting and driving is a serious danger to other drivers and pedestrians. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there have been 100,000 traffic crashes in Texas each year involving distracted driving. 38% of Texas drivers admitted to talking on their mobile phone while driving at least some of the time, according to a survey conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

2)    Financial Cost: Texting-related crashes cost Texas an estimated $1.3 billion in 2013, according to the National Safety Council

3)    Our Brains CANNOT multi-task: Driving a car requires 3 types of attention: visual, manual, and cognitive. Texting requires all 3 and therefore you are 23 times more likely to crash while texting, according to National Safety Council.

  • Request to Texas State Representative: SUPPORT Representatives Craddick’s HB 62 and Representative Lucio’s HB 160.
  • Request to Texas State Senator: SUPPORT Sen. Zaffirini’s SB 31.


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