In Texas, where a multitude of faith traditions thrive, the demand for a unified voice to protect religious freedoms and advocate for the unique needs of each community has never been more crucial. Recognizing the strength of collaboration, this coalition will bring together members o different faith communities to foster dialogue, propose policy recommendations, and ensure that the voices of all faith communities are heard and respected.
In the 88th Legislative session, we were able to successfully work together and advocate for the following policies reflecting the needs of our communities:
- The passing of House Bill No. 1883 amended the schedule for administering assessment instruments in Texas schools. The amendment ensures that assessment instruments are not administered on the first instructional day of a week or on religious holy days of various faiths, including All Saints Day, Christmas, Diwali, Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Vaisakhi, Vesak, and Yom Kippur.
- The amendment to Section 25.087 of the Education Code in regards to excusing absences from public school for observing religious holidays. House Bill 1212 required school districts to accept absent notes from a student’s parent or guardian to verify an absence for a religious holiday rather than requiring documentation from a clergy or religious leader.
- Participate in 30-minute monthly virtual discussions regarding religious freedom policy.
- Work together to develop policy recommendations that address different faith communities’ specific needs and concerns.
- With consideration to time, attend, testify, and participate in legislative hearings and press conferences for bills related to religious freedom.
- Provide testimony, when possible, to inform policymakers about the impact of legislation on various faith communities.
- Assist in amplifying agreed-upon policy measures, such as sharing information and updates with faith communities and promoting the coalition’s stance through various channels.
- Members must belong to an established non-partisan faith-based organization in Texas representing a congregation.