FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/11/2021
Representative Tinderholt Files Eight Bills to Reform Texas Disaster Act
AUSTIN, TX - On Thursday, Representative Tony Tinderholt filed HB 3780, 3781, 3782, 3783, 3784, and 3785 related to powers granted to the governor and local officials during a declared disaster. HB 1690 and 1691, filed earlier this session, also address this issue.
"I have heard from countless constituents over the past year regarding the emergency powers granted to certain elected officials. While the Texas Disaster Act serves a vital purpose in emergency management, reforms are necessary to ensure the individual rights of all Texans are preserved. Each of these eight bills are vital in doing just that," Tinderholt said.
Tinderholt's legislation represents a step-by-step approach to remedy various issues arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics in question range from separation of powers, banning top-down closures of schools and businesses, and defending Texans' basic constitutional rights to buy a gun and go to church.
HB 1690: Makes clear governors have no authority to control the sale and use of alcohol, guns, or ammunition.
HB 1691: Prohibits any state or local official from closing or limiting capacity of religious services.
HB 3780: A governor must call a special session of the Legislature in order to renew a disaster declaration for a communicable disease.
HB 3781: Prohibits the closure of any business or category of business during a declared disaster.
HB 3782: Prohibits the Texas Education Agency or any local health authority from forcing Texas schools to close, leaving decisions up to the local elected school boards on a case-by-case basis.
HB 3783: Removes jail time for violations of a governor's executive order or proclamation.
HB 3784: Removes jail time and fines for violations of the Texas Emergency Management Plan (which is made and updated by state employees and not elected legislators).
HB 3785: Clarifies that only regulatory statute may be suspended by a governor and not general law.