Update: June 1, 2015 – Governor Abbott vetoed SB 359 preventing hospital officials alone the authority to detain individuals. Thank you to Governor Abbott for Keeping Texas Families Free.
We have sent our official letter to Governor Greg Abbott asking him to veto SB 359. As we mentioned last week, this bill changes the current law to grant hospital officials alone the authority to detain individuals whom they believe may have mental issues, and waives liability for the officials in doing so. Until now, a law enforcement officer’s agreement with the hospital’s assessment has been required to detain a patient against his or her will. Last year in Williamson County, hospitals submitted over 900 requests to detain patients and more than half of them were denied by law enforcement.
Thankfully, this bill was brought to our attention late in the session by good friends who follow mental health issues. We agreed to join the many groups who are asking the Governor to veto the bill because of the negative impact it almost certainly would have on parents seeking services for their children.
Other Bills Successfully Killed at the End of Session
Last session THSC joined a late effort to defeat SB 303, an end-of-life bill that was opposed by Texas Right to Life, and was an infringement on parental rights. The bill was strongly supported by the Texas Medical Association (TMA) because it granted a waiver of liability to doctors who issued “Do Not Resuscitate” orders that they could do so without the consent of the patient or his family. The TMA also supports SB 359.
In 2013 then-Governor Rick Perry vetoed SB 429 at the request of THSC and other pro-family organizations. SB 429 would have allowed judges in CPS cases to implement court orders that continued even after a suit against a parent was dismissed. Governor Perry heard the concerns of THSC and other parental rights advocates and vetoed the bill.
The Ongoing Battle
Our effort to have SB 359 vetoed is similar to our efforts in 2009 to get Governor Perry to veto SB 1440, which was a bad bill granting sweeping new powers to CPS that would have been detrimental to Texas families. We were successful in that effort and I hope you will urge your friends and family to call Governor Abbott at (512) 463-2000, and to send email messages asking him to veto this attack on freedom. See below for further details on what you can say to the Governor’s office.
Our efforts this session to pass the Texas Parental Rights Act (TPRRA) to protect single parents from litigation from vindictive grandparents have now been put on hold until next session in both the House and Senate. Although hearings were successfully held in both chambers, the chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee refused to allow a vote. Said Senator, Joan Huffman, opposed the TPRRA from the beginning, and is also a co-author and strong supporter of SB 359. Similarly, SB 359 author Democratic Sen. Royce West killed the TPRRA last session and even filed a bill to expand the loophole undermining parental rights by allowing any grandparent to sue any parent for access or possession, which would have dramatically increased lawsuits against good parents!
It’s Not Over ‘Til it’s Over
So while the legislature draws to an official close, we will not be finished until Governor Abbott makes a decision on the many bills that have come to his desk. Thank you for your prayers and support in our battle for home schooling and parental rights in Texas. I pray that you will join us in calling on Governor Abbott to veto SB 359 and that he will follow Governor Perry’s example.
Calls to Governor Abbott’s office are still needed by Monday asking him to veto SB 359. The number for the office is (512) 463-2000. Please leave a message registering your opinion if your call is not answered. You can also send an email message here.
Your message can be something like this:
“Hello, I’m from ________ (your city), and I’m calling to ask the Governor to veto SB 359. This bill would allow minors to be detained without a warrant simply because a hospital thinks that they need to remain at the facility–even against the parents’ wishes. Additionally, law enforcement can be requested to allow for further detention, also against the wishes of a good parent. SB 359 undermines parental rights, so please veto this bill!”
THSC fought to help establish your freedom and continues the battle today. Support THSC today and help Keep Texas Families Free.