Clergy Mondays at State Capitol Start with SB 185

In response to growing demand from clergy around the state, Texas Impact is launching Clergy Mondays at the Capitol in Austin for clergy and other religious professionals.

This new initiative is designed to give clergy and other religious professionals opportunities for ongoing interaction with legislators and their staffs through the rest of the current legislative session and beyond.

Each Monday from now until the end of the legislative session (May 31, 2015), Texas Impact will host interested faith leaders for a short briefing on one key issue or bill. Participants will receive a list of legislative offices to visit, instructions for successful visits, and talking points on the week’s priority issue. Participants may be asked to attend committee hearings or engage with legislators outside the House and Senate chambers.

The program will start at 11am in Room E2.018 in the Capitol Extension, and end at 2pm in the Capitol Chapel. Each week will start and end with prayer or meditation by a participant.

Participants are encouraged to eat together in the Capitol Grille if necessary. They are free to come to the Capitol early and stay as long as they want to. They are also encouraged to bring a friend to Clergy Mondays at the Capitol.

Clergy Mondays start Monday, March 16, which is the day of a controversial hearing on this year’s “sanctuary cities” bill, which is of concern to a lot of Texas faith leaders. The Senate Veteran Affairs & Military Installations Subcommittee on Border Security will take public testimony on SB 185 relating to so-called "sanctuary cities."

SB 185 is similar to the sanctuary cities legislation that the Texas Legislature heard in 2011 but did not pass. Immigrant-rights groups and others refer to the Texas bill and similar legislation in other states as "Show Me Your Papers."

The bill would prohibit cities from adopting policies designed to reassure immigrant communities that their cooperation with local law enforcement will not trigger enforcement of federal immigration laws. Read the Senate's official bill analysis here.

In 2011, more than forty Texas judicatory leaders signed a joint statement opposing sanctuary cities legislation, and numerous religious leaders testified against the bill in committee. Watch video of faith leaders' testimony in 2011.

Many faith leaders are anticipated to provide testimony at the Monday, March 16 hearing. All interested participants should contact Bee Moorhead at Texas Impact to help with logistics or coordinate a meeting to connect with other faith community representatives at the Capitol.

Schedule for Monday, March 16

7:30AM         Witnesses start arriving to register to speak on SB 185

PLACE: E1.016 (Hearing Room)

8:00AM         Hearing is called to order

11:00AM       Senate convenes on the floor; the hearing will stand in recess until adjournment

11:15AM       Clergy Monday convenes in Room E2.018 for issue briefing

12:00PM       Legislative visits

2:00PM          Clergy Monday concludes with benediction in Capitol Chapel.

2:30PM-ish    Senate adjourns and the hearing reconvenes, with public testimony continuing as long as necessary.

Call the committee at 877-274-3841 to register your position on the bill.