Received the following from W. Scott Lewis and it has a lot of good information on the process of hearings and dates of hearings at the State Legislature. Look it over and let your representatives know where you stand on these matters. A big thanks to Scott for keeping us in the loop.
Stay Safe, Ross
TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO
HEAR 19 GUN BILLS THIS WEEK!
What follows is a lot of information, so take a couple of deep breaths before diving in.
On Wednesday, March 13 and Thursday, March 14, three committees of the Texas House of Representatives will hear bills dealing with self defense and the Second
Amendment. Advocates of personal protection, gun rights, and/or the Second Amendment are encouraged to attend and make their voices heard. Be advised that signs, banners, and any types of noise making will get you ejected from the Capitol. These will be formal legislative hearings; therefore, business/Sunday attire is appropriate.
On Wednesday, March 13, the House committee on Urban Affairs will meet at 10:30 AM (or upon final adjournment/recess of the House), in room E2.016, to consider and hear testimony on five bills, including HB 1299, which would preempt municipalities from creating restrictions (in excess of those existing at the state level) on knives, personal defense sprays, or stun guns. (NOTE: Representative Dutton [D‐Houston], the chair of the Urban Affairs committee, is not a strong supporter of the Second Amendment; therefore, anyone testifying in support of HB 1299 would be wise to focus on the argument that municipal knife bans create an unnavigable patchwork of laws that get good people into trouble and serve no practical purpose.)
At 2 PM that same day, the House select committee on Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility will meet in room E2.036, to consider and hear testimony on eight bills (HB 553, HB 627, HB 872, HB 928, HB 1049, HB 1076, HB 1314, and HCR 63) dealing with the enforcement of federal gun control laws. (NOTE: Representative Creighton [R‐Conroe], the chair of the Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility select committee, is the author of one of these bills [HB 1314] and is, therefore, expected to be supportive.)
On Thursday, March 14, the House committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety will meet at 10:30 AM (or upon final adjournment/recess of the House) in room E2.010, to consider and hear testimony on five bills (HB 706, HB 972, HB 1077, HB 1078, and HB 1313) dealing with concealed carry on college campuses, two bills (HB 1009 and HB 1896) dealing with arming faculty/staff at primary and secondary schools, one bill (HB 1298) dealing with concealed carry in a building where a fieldtrip or school‐sponsored event is taking place, and two bills (HB 700 and HB 1194) dealing with open carry by a holder of a concealed handgun
license. (NOTE: There is no reliable indicator of where Representative Pickett, the chair of the Homeland Security & Public Safety committee, stands on these bills, but he has traditionally supported gun rights.)
Please keep in mind that you do NOT have to provide testimony in order to make your voice heard at these hearings. You can simply show up and fill out a digital "position card" identifying which bills you support/oppose. These position cards will be tallied by the committees. Also, please note that you do not have to show up at the beginning or stay until the end. You can simply stop by at some point during the hearing, register a position, and then leave. If you are unable to attend at all, you can still be of some benefit by either emailing or calling the offices of committee members and letting them know which bills you support/oppose.
Be aware that this is an unprecedented number of personal protection/gun rights/Second Amendment bills (nineteen in all) to be heard in a very short period of time (two days), so you can expect both the Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility hearing (Wednesday) and the Homeland Security & Public Safety hearing (Thursday) to run VERY long (possibly lasting well into the night). Also, you can expect the committee chairs to strictly enforce the three‐minute time limit on oral testimonies. Because of this, individuals who wish to provide testimony are encouraged to provide WRITTEN testimony (rather than oral testimony) unless they have a VERY compelling story to tell. If you have been the victim of a violent crime, feel particularly vulnerable because of a disability, or have a background in law enforcement, you are encouraged to prepare a short (no longer than three‐minute) oral testimony. Everyone else is encouraged to bring ten copies of his or her WRITTEN testimony and deliver those copies to the committee clerk. Please take my word on this‐‐too many oral testimonies (especially if most are essentially the same) will only upset the committee members. Don't worry about how many of our opponents show up to testify in person‐‐your written testimony carries just as much weight and won't anger committee members. Plus, you have the opportunity to say much more in a written testimony, which isn't subject to the three‐minute limit that governs oral testimonies.
Whether you're providing testimony or not, the first thing you want to do upon arriving at the Capitol is to make your way to the underground extension, find one of the sign‐in kiosks (https://www.mytxlegis.legis.state.tx.us/hwrspublic/about.aspx), and register for the hearing(s) you plan to attend. This is how the committees know how many people from each side showed up!
Remember, licensed concealed carry IS allowed throughout the Capitol. When you enter, look for the special "CHL" line to the side of the metal detectors. Be sure you have your license on you!
Parking is available in the Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto. The entrances are on 12th St. and 13th St., between Trinity St. and San Jacinto St. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $8.00). If you plan on staying until the end, bring cash because the pay booths will likely be closed by the time the hearings end. Accessible parking is available with accessible routes to the Capitol. Metered spaces are available throughout the complex. THE VISITORS LOT WILL FILL UP EARLY!
Keep in mind that the South by Southwest Music/Film/Interactive Festival is currently underway in Austin; therefore, the downtown area‐‐particularly the availability of parking spaces and hotel rooms‐‐is a bit crazier than usual.
You'll find maps of both the Capitol complex and the Capitol building here:
If you want to check on the progress of the committee hearing from work or home, you can watch the live video stream here: http://www.house.state.tx.us/video‐audio/
These committee hearings are, arguably, the most important step of the legislative process because the committee hearings are where each bill is studied, debated, and considered on its merits. The full process is as follows.
- After testimony is delivered, the House committee deliberates and votes on whether or not to pass the bill along to the House Calendars Committee.
2. The House Calendars Committee deliberates and votes on if and when to schedule the bill for a floor vote by the full House of Representatives.
- The bill must twice, on two separate days, receive a majority vote in the House in order to be passed along to the Senate, where it is assigned to a Senate committee.
5. The Senate committee hears testimony on the bill, just as the House committee did, and votes on whether or not to pass the bill along to the full Senate (there is no Calendars Committee in the Senate).
- Once a bill is passed along to the Senate, two‐thirds of the Senators present (21 Senators if all 31 are present) must vote to let the bill be heard on the floor.
7. The bill must twice, on two separate days, receive a majority vote in the Senate in order to become an act to be passed along to the governor.
- As long as the governor does not veto the act, it becomes a law.
PURPLE = Wednesday @ 10:30 AM (or upon final adjournment/recess of the House) in hearing room E2.016 (Urban Affairs)
RED = Wednesday @ 2 PM in hearing room E2.036 (Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility)
GREEN = Thursday @ 10:30 AM (or upon final adjournment/recess of the House) in hearing room E2.010 (Homeland Security & Public Safety)
HB 553 (Otto, R): Creates an offense for a Texas peace officer attempting to enforce certain federal laws, regulations or Presidential executive orders. Also creates an offense for federal agents and employees attempting enforce such laws, regulations and executive orders
HB 627 (Krause, Matt, R): Purports to exempt most firearms manufactured and sold in Texas from federal laws. It also requires the Texas Attorney General to defend any Texan prosecuted by federal authorities for violating federal statues impacted by this bill
HB 700 (Lavender, R): Legalizes openly carrying handguns by persons holding a Texas Concealed Handgun License.
HB 706 (Capriglione, R): "Campus‐carry" bill that prohibits public and private colleges and universities from prohibiting the carrying of handguns anywhere on campus by persons holding a Texas Concealed Handgun License. It would not apply to out‐of‐state licenses.
HB 872 (Laubengerg, R): Similar to HB627 purporting to exempt firearms manufactured and sold in Texas from federal laws.
HB 928 (Krause, R): Prohibits Texas law enforcement officers from enforcing federal restrictions on firearms and accessories manufactured and sold in Texas
HB 972 (Fletcher, R): Establishes campus‐carry for colleges and universities for CHL's. Companion Bill: SB182 by Birdwell.
HB 1009 (Villalba, R): Creates a "school marshal" quasi‐peace officer, but only school employees qualify and with special training every two years.
HB 1049 (Laubenberg, R): Prohibits Texas law enforcement officers from enforcing federal restrictions on firearms and accessories manufactured and sold in Texas.
HB 1076 (Toth, R): Purports to exempt most firearms manufactured and sold in Texas from federal laws. It also creates criminal penalties for anyone attempting to enforce federal laws regulating firearms manufactured and sold in Texas.
HB 1077 (Kleinschmidt, R): A bill that essentially extends the so‐called "employer parking lot bill" to colleges and universities and applies to both employees and students. That is, they cannot be disciplined, fired, or expelled for having firearms in their locked vehicles.
HB 1078 (Kleinschmidt, R): De‐criminalizes carrying of a handgun by a Concealed Handgun Licensee anywhere on a college or university campus, including the "premises" as statutorily defined, activity grounds, and transportation vehicles.
HB 1194 (Paddie, R): Legalizes openly carrying handguns by persons holding a Texas Concealed Handgun License.
HB 1298 (Stickland, R): Amends existing law to clarify that the prohibition (PC Sec. 46.03[a]) against carrying a concealed handgun on "any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted" applies only to grounds or buildings under the control of a school and does not apply to a public area where fieldtrip is taking place.
HB 1299 (Stickland, R): Preempts cities from regulating knives, stun guns, and personal defense sprays, except in secured areas protected by metal detectors. There already exists a similar preemption law for firearms.
HB 1313 (Creighton, R): A campus carry bill that decriminalizes carrying of handguns on the premises of PUBLIC colleges but not PRIVATE colleges.
HB 1314 (Creighton, R): Creates an offense for state or federal law enforcement personnel to seize a firearm under color of federal law; with broad and vague exception.
HB 1896 (King, Phil, R): Creates training standards and policies for authorizing faculty/staff at primary/secondary schools to carry guns.
HCR 63 (Sanford, R): Asserts sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and beseeches the federal government to immediately cease and desist from the promulgation of mandates that infringe on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms or that are otherwise beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers.
(If you click on one of these links and receive a message saying that you've viewed the maximum number of pages allowable in one day, clear your browser cache and try again.)
Committee on Urban Affairs:
Office Committee Member
Chair Harold V . Dutton (D) Vice-Chair Carol Alvarado (D)
Rafael Anchia (D) Gary Elkins (R)
Jeff Leach (R)
Justin Rodriguez (D) Scott Sanford (R)
Staff Position Staff Member
Clerk Nicole Bates
Select Committee on Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility:
Office Committee Member
Chair Brandon Creighton (R) Cindy Burkett (R)
Eddie Lucio (D)
Scott Turner (R) Armando L. Walle (D)
Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety:
(512) Phone / Fax
463-9904 / 463-1049
Joseph C. "Joe" Pickett (D) Allen Fletcher (R)
Philip Cortez (D)
Tony Dale (R)
Dan Flynn (R)
Tim Kleinschmidt (R) George Lavender (R) Kenneth Sheets (R) Ron Simmons (R)
Phone / Fax