I was contacted a couple of months ago by Ed Colbert. He was working hard to get a bill passed to stop Texas Schools from allowing public school facilities to be used be non religious groups but not religious groups. Well, Ed got a State Representative to sponsor the bill. Thanks Rep. Matt Krause!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Elliott Griffin, Chief of Staff February 20th, 2013 (512) 463-0562
REP. MATT KRAUSE FILES RELIGIOUS EQUAL ACCESS ACT
AUSTIN, TEXAS - Today, Rep. Matt Krause filed H.B. 1525, which prohibits the Board of Trustees of an independent school district from treating religious organizations differently than they treat non-religious organizations regarding access to school campuses during non-instructional time.
"The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that if a government-owned property is open to public expression and assembly, those citizens who would utilize the property may not be subject to viewpoint discrimination, specifically religious viewpoint discrimination," said Rep. Matt Krause. "H.B. 1525 takes the findings of the Supreme Court in cases like Good News Club v. Milford Central School and Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District, and codifies them in Texas law, ensuring that all speech is protected and allowed in government-owned properties in our state."
Rep. Matt Krause worked as a constitutional attorney for Liberty Counsel for nearly five years before becoming a state representative. Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.
"During my time working as a constitutional attorney, I was able to help many people who faced viewpoint discrimination while trying to access public facilities," continued Rep. Matt Krause. "Texas needs to act strongly to protect folks who may not have the means to pursue litigation when their First Amendment rights are being infringed upon."
Text of Bill Filed be Matt Krause:
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to prohibiting the board of trustees of an independent
school district from exercising disparate treatment in allowing
access to school campuses during non-instructional time based on
the religious nature of an organization.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTIONA1.AAThe legislature finds that a school district
that denies an organization access to its limited public forum on
the grounds that the organization is religious in nature, or that
the viewpoints expressed by the organization are religious in
nature, is violating the organization ’s free speech rights. To
protect those rights, this Act intends to codify the supporting
language of the United States Supreme Court in Good News Club v.
Milford Central School, 533 U.S. 98 (2001), and Lamb ’s Chapel v.
Center Moriches Union Free School District, 508 U.S. 384 (1993).
SECTIONA2.AASubchapter D, Chapter 11, Education Code, is
amended by adding Section 11.1651 to read as follows:
Sec.A11.1651.AAPROHIBITION OF DISPARATE TREATMENT IN
ALLOWING ACCESS TO SCHOOL CAMPUSES DURING NON-INSTRUCTIONAL TIME
BASED ON RELIGIOUS NATURE OF ORGANIZATION. If the board of trustees
of an independent school district allows noncurricular community
organizations not organized or operated primarily by students
access to district school campuses during non-instructional time,
the district must provide religious organizations the same access
to school campuses during non-instructional time as is given to
other noncurricular organizations without discrimination based on
any religious nature of an organization or on an organization ’s
activities on campus, including expression of religious
SECTIONA3.AAThis 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, 2013.