MONUMENT PROTECTION BILL UPDATE
On our last Monument Protection Bill update, all hell was breaking loose. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had instructed Senator Birdwell to sit on SB1416 and not allow the bill to go before the Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee for public testimony. TITFF has spent countless hours at the Capitol trying to find a solution or a way to work around the Patrick road block and today we can say with confidence we have found a solution, but it will require the help of Texans across the state.
FIRST THE GOOD NEWS
So before we get into the ins and outs of our Monument Protection Bill, we do have some good news to share with you. We will start will HB3013 (Filed by Rep Kyle Biedermann, related to the displays & exhibits located on the grounds of the Alamo complex). This bill was referred to the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee on 3/19/21. TITFF & Texans were able to give public testimony on the bill on 4/19/2021. This bill was reported favorably by the committee on 4/26/21 and we are please to announce that it was sent over the Calendars Committee on 4/29/2021, so we expect it will be heard the House Floor soon.
HB1186 (filed by Rep Anchia, relating to removing and renaming certain objects and structures in or near the Capitol) is still pending in committee, so it looks like it will die in committee. This is good because the bill would have removed several Confederate Monuments on the Capitol grounds and it would remove several portraits inside the Capitol. TITFF, SCV & the UDC all testified against the bill in committee on 4/19/2021.
HB446 (filed by Rep Allison, relating to increasing the criminal penalty for the offense of criminal mischief involving the damage or destruction of a public monument) was referred to the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on 2/25/21. TITFF Directors were the only Texans who testified for this bill on 4/26/21. The bill is still pending in Committee, but we expect to see this bill move this coming week.
HB4538 (filed by Rep Cyrier & Rep Middleton, relating to the removal, relocation, alteration, or construction of certain monuments or memorials located on municipal or county property; providing civil penalties) went to the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee on 3/29/21. TITFF, SCV & the UDC testified against this bill in committee on 4/19/21. This bill was a sad attempt to act like they were doing something, while in reality they were doing absolutely nothing. The bill would allow citizens in the county to vote to remove monuments that were 40 years old or older. That means the big cities, who are dominated by liberal democrats, could remove any monument they wanted to. This bill has been left pending in committee and we hope it dies there too!
HB1079 (filed by Rep Perez, Cain, Morales, Christina & Guillen, relating to the relocation of the Battleship "Texas" after refurbishment) was sent to the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee on 3/4/21. Public testimony was taken on 4/19/21 and it is still pending in Committee. TITFF testified on this bill but we remained natural. We want to see the Battleship Texas restored and on display for Texans, the problem we have is only about 80,000 people visit the ship each year where it sits, that doesn't cover the cost to maintain it after repairs. The County & City have had ample opportunity to repair this ship and build more attractions (restaurants, hotels, shops, etc.) in the area, outside of the Battle ground, to attract more visitors. We gave some ideas on what to do to fix that problem, but if the County/City can't draw the visitors in, then we would like to see it go to Corpus Christi next to the Lexington, where tourism is high & it can be maintained. If the County/City can fix the visitor problem, them we are 100% fine with it staying at San Jacinto.
So the anti-history bills or bad history bills are hung up in committee, the pro-history bills are moving in this committee. We'd like to take just a sec to thank Rep Kyle Biedermann on his tireless work trying to protect/save the Alamo. He filed several Alamo bills, unfortunately only one bill seems to be moving. Rep Biedermann has been a great help to TITFF's #NotOneInch movement (save the Alamo Cenotaph), he is the only State Rep that attended several Reimagine The Alamo Plan meetings. He has fought along side of TITFF on this issue, for that we thank him!
MONUMENT PROTECTION BILL
So let's discuss the Monument Protection Bills. We met with Senator Birdwell's Legislative Director on April 9th. We asked why Senator Creighton's bill hadn't been heard in committee yet since it was filed on 3/10/21 and was sent to the Natural Resources & Economic Development committee & had it's first reading on 3/18/2021. Sen Birdwell's Legislative Director told us he would get a answer to why the bill hadn't been heard in committee no later than Monday 3/12/21. Monday came and went with no response, so TITFF went to his office 4/13/21, there we were informed that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had instructed Senator Birdwell to sit on the bill, no further explanation was given. On 4/14/21 TITFF confirmed this through Capitol sources and we sounded the alarm to Texans. At this point TITFF lobbied several other Senators & State Reps to hold Senator Birdwell's bills until he allowed SB1416 to be heard. We had some success with this effort. Meanwhile, the House version of our Monument Protection Bill HB2713 (filed by Rep Hefner, Rep White, Rep Metcalf, Rep Bell & Rep Cecil, relating to the removal, relocation, alteration, or construction of certain monuments, memorials, or designations located on public property; authorizing a civil penalty) went to the Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee and TITFF testified in support of the bill on 4/19/21.
On April 26th we went back to Senator Birdwell's office to talk to his Chief of Staff. We told Sen. Birdwell's Chief of Staff that it wasn't a wise move to sit on SB1416. Senator Birdwell has absolute power in his committee. He was elected to do the will of Texans, not to do the will of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. In 2020 97.3% of Conservative Texans voted to say "Texas should protect & preserve all historical monuments, artifacts & buildings". Senator Birdwell's Chief of Staff said, "Patrick had told Birdwell to sit on SB1416 because in the 86th Legislative Session the Senate passed Senator Creighton's bill and it just died in the House". THIS IS A BOLD FACE LIE! Yes Senator Creighton's bill did pass in 2019, but by the time it got to the House there was only 1 week left in the 86th Legislative Session, so the bill never got a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd read, so the bill was never heard in the House. The bill had support, it just ran out of time. Senator Birdwell's Chief of Staff said, "We are waiting for the House Bill to get out of the House, once it does Sen. Birdwell will hear it in the Senate". We explained to Senator Birdwell's Chief of Staff that if HB2713 or SB1416 doesn't pass this legislative session, because of the delays & road blocks, then TITFF is going to go after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick & Senator Birdwell when election time rolls around. We also informed her, "With all due respect to Sen. Birdwell & Dan Patrick, y'all aren't the ones running to physically defend these monuments, we are", "Things got extremely ugly in 2020 and we are trying our best to put a stop to this nonsense, doing it the right way, before someone gets hurt". She said she understood and would relay our message to Senator Birdwell (which it was), and we left Sen Birdwell's office to go talk to Rep Ken King (Committee Chair) in the House.
On April 26th, as TITFF left the Capitol for our 218th hour at the Capitol this session, HB2713 was reported favorably by the Committee! Even better, on 4/29/21 HB2713 was sent to the House Calendars Committee! We spoke with long time friend Senator Creighton's office to ensure he heard the good news. Senator Creighton is just waiting on HB2713 to pass the House and he is ready to grab it and get it in & out the Senate ASAP! So the hope to see a Monument Protection Bill (either HB2713, SB1416 or a combo of both bills) passed in the 87th Legislator. But do not get complacent Texans. We still need your help!
If you love our vast & rich Texas History, if you are tired of the cancel culture removing our historical monuments, we need you to make some calls and write some emails. Every Conservative Texan needs to take a few minutes out of your life and contact the Calendars Committee and let them know you want to see HB2713 sent to the House Floor ASAP. Here is a list of the Representatives on the Calendars Committee and their numbers......
We need every Texan to call these Calendar Committee members at least once a day. Tell them to get HB2713 on the House Floor as soon as possible! Be polite on your phone calls, you can even ask them for their email address so you can email them as well. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease, be that squeaky wheel.
After you make your phone calls and/or emails to the Committee Calendar members, we need you to contact your State Representative and tell them to support HB2713. Again, be polite. We have a sure fire way to get this Monument Protection Bill passed in the House & the Senate, but every Texan must do their part. You can get your State Rep's number below....
This Is Texas Freedom Force will be headed back to the Capitol this week. Our goal is to get the Monument Protection Bill passed in the House & Senate. We will be meeting with every single House Representative, so make those calls so we hear "A lot of Texans are calling us about this issue". Together Texans, nothing can stop us from protecting & preserving our Texas History!
God bless Texas,
TITFF Board of Directors
You can order the T-shirt above in the pic by simply pressing the black button below. All proceeds go to fighting to protect our Texas History.