S.B. No. 1978
  relating to the protection of membership in, affiliation with, and
  support provided to religious organizations.
         SECTION 1.  Title 10, Government Code, is amended by adding
  Subtitle H to read as follows:
         Sec. 2400.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Adverse action" means any action taken by a
  governmental entity to:
                     (A)  withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or
  otherwise deny any grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative
  agreement, loan, scholarship, license, registration,
  accreditation, employment, or other similar status from or to a
                     (B)  withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or
  otherwise deny any benefit provided under a benefit program from or
  to a person;
                     (C)  alter in any way the tax treatment of, cause
  any tax, penalty, or payment assessment against, or deny, delay, or
  revoke a tax exemption of a person;
                     (D)  disallow a tax deduction for any charitable
  contribution made to or by a person;
                     (E)  deny admission to, equal treatment in, or
  eligibility for a degree from an educational program or institution
  to a person; or
                     (F)  withhold, reduce, exclude, terminate, or
  otherwise deny access to a property, educational institution,
  speech forum, or charitable fund-raising campaign from or to a
               (2)  "Benefit program" means any program administered
  or funded by a governmental entity or federal agency that provides
  assistance in the form of payments, grants, loans, or loan
               (3)  "Governmental entity" means:
                     (A)  this state;
                     (B)  a board, commission, council, department, or
  other agency in the executive branch of state government that is
  created by the state constitution or a statute, including an
  institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003,
  Education Code;
                     (C)  the legislature or a legislative agency;
                     (D)  a state judicial agency or the State Bar of
                     (E)  a political subdivision of this state,
  including a county, municipality, or special district or authority;
                     (F)  an officer, employee, or agent of an entity
  described by Paragraphs (A)-(E).
               (4)  "Person" has the meaning assigned by Section
  311.005, except the term does not include:
                     (A)  an employee of a governmental entity acting
  within the employee's scope of employment;
                     (B)  a contractor of a governmental entity acting
  within the scope of the contract; or
                     (C)  an individual or a medical or residential
  custodial health care facility while the individual or facility is
  providing medically necessary services to prevent another
  individual's death or imminent serious physical injury.
               (5)  "Religious organization" means an organization
  that is a religious organization under Section 110.011(b), Civil
  Practice and Remedies Code.
         Sec. 2400.0015.  APPLICABILITY.  This chapter does not apply
  to an investment prohibited under Chapter 808 or a contract
  prohibited under Chapter 2270, as added by Chapter 1 (H.B. 89), Acts
  of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017.
         Sec. 2400.002.  ADVERSE ACTION PROHIBITED. Notwithstanding
  any other law, a governmental entity may not take any adverse action
  against any person based wholly or partly on the person's
  membership in, affiliation with, or contribution, donation, or
  other support provided to a religious organization.
         Sec. 2400.003.  RELIEF AVAILABLE. (a)  A person may assert
  an actual or threatened violation of Section 2400.002 as a claim or
  defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain:
               (1)  injunctive relief;
               (2)  declaratory relief; and
               (3)  court costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
         (b)  Notwithstanding any other law, a person may commence an
  action under this section and relief may be granted regardless of
  whether the person has sought or exhausted available administrative
         Sec. 2400.004.  IMMUNITY WAIVED. A person who alleges a
  violation of Section 2400.002 may sue the governmental entity for
  the relief provided under Section 2400.003. Sovereign or
  governmental immunity, as applicable, is waived and abolished to
  the extent of liability for that relief.
         Sec. 2400.005.  INTERPRETATION. (a)  This chapter may not
  be construed to preempt a state or federal law that is equally or
  more protective of the free exercise of religious beliefs or to
  narrow the meaning or application of a state or federal law
  protecting the free exercise of religious beliefs.
         (b)  This chapter may not be construed to prevent a
  governmental entity from providing, either directly or through a
  person who is not seeking protection under this chapter, any
  benefit or service authorized under state or federal law.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1978 passed the Senate on
  May 16, 2019, by the following vote: Yeas 19, Nays 12; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 23, 2019, by the
  following vote: Yeas 19, Nays 12.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1978 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 21, 2019, by the following vote: Yeas 79,
  Nays 64, two present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House