House Representative

Leach, Jeff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/25/2021

Senator Kelly Hancock and Representative Jeff Leach File the “Texas Essential Church Act” Proposing Constitutional Amendment to Protect Texas Churches

Senator Kelly Hancock and Representative Jeff Leach File the “Texas Essential Church Act” Proposing Constitutional Amendment to Protect Texas Churches & Houses of Worship

AUSTIN – Today, State Senator Kelly Hancock (Tarrant County) and State Representative Jeff Leach (Collin County) respectively filed SJR 27 and HJR 72, the “Texas Essential Church Act.” The proposal to amend the Texas Constitution, in sum, will prohibit any elected official or any political subdivision of the state from limiting or prohibiting religious services or observances. Furthermore, the proposed legislation will deem all houses of worship “essential,” ensuring their continued operation even in times of declared emergency by any future President, Governor, County Judge, Mayor or other elected official. If passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate during the 87th Legislative Session, the people of Texas will have an opportunity to vote to approve the Texas Essential Church Act and amend the Texas Constitution in a statewide-referendum on November 2, 2021.

Senator Kelly Hancock, the author of SJR 27, stated: “Religious liberty and the freedom 'peaceably to assemble' are concepts so fundamental to the foundations of our nation that they are explicitly, indelibly enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Texas will continue to protect and defend those rights, no matter the circumstances."

State Representative Jeff Leach, the author of HJR 72, stated: “The vast majority of Texans are people of faith, actively practicing their faith through membership or participation in local churches, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship. Unfortunately, in recent months we have seen government agencies and elected officials trample on the freedom of religion and run rough-shod over their fundamental rights to worship and assemble. But Texans will not stand quietly by. I am proud to file the Texas Essential Church Act with my good friend Senator Kelly Hancock to ensure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our churches and houses of worship have iron-clad, constitutional protection against any government agency or official who would ever seek, now or in the future, to infringe on their fundamental religious liberties.”

CONTACT: Julie Atkinson