On Monday, May 20, 2019, the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill, which is formally known as SB 1978 in the Texas State House of Representatives and Senate, was passed on to the governor’s office after it was passed by the Texas State House of Representatives.
Democratic Texas State Representative Julie Johnson stopped the first iteration of the “Save Chick-fil-A” bill in its tracks two weeks ago. The first version of the bill, formally known as House Bill 3172, set out to keep government agencies, figures, and other entities from carrying out “adverse actions,” per House Bill 3172’s wording, against people, organizations, or businesses related to their religious or moral beliefs.
The reason why SB 1978 and its predecessor, House Bill 3172, came about is that the San Antonio City Council, a municipal-level government entity, ruled against allowing fast-food chain Chick-fil-A from opening a location inside the San Antonio International Airport. Although there are plenty of legally-supported reasons why governments can prevent businesses from being constructed within their respective jurisdictions, the San Antonio City Council cited Chick-fil-A’s “legacy of anti-LGBT behavior” as the sole reason why Chick-fil-A would not be allowed to open a location at the San Antonio International Airport, which officials had already approved the construction of a Chick-fil-A location within its doors.
Previously, the Texas State Senate had approved SB 1978, which was brought forth by the Senate’s Republicans shortly after the San Antonio City Council’s ruling was published, by a margin of 19-12. Texas State Senators had voted along party lines. Unfortunately for citizens of Texas, the public had no knowledge of the bill. Fortunately, this time around, concerned Texas citizens were able to voice their opinions on the most recent iteration of SB 1978, House Bill 3172, before state politicians voted on it.
Texas state legislators are believed to have formed the idea for both SB 1978 and House Bill 3172 following inspiration from Project Blitz, a right-leaning effort created by the Wallbuilders, a Christian group, the right-leaning National Legal Foundation, and the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation. Project Blitz is an effort from conservative entities and individuals to encourage state and local legislators around the nation to put forth bills that would introduce general freedom of religion in the respective jurisdictions of municipalities and states that so decided to go forward with such legislation.