Monday, May 22, 2017

Texas Governor Signs Bill Protecting Sermons From Subpoena By Government

On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB24 (full text).  The new law protects sermons delivered by religious leaders from being subpoenaed by any governmental unit in litigation or in administrative proceedings.  The legislation is a reaction to controversy over the city of Houston's attempt in 2014 to subpoena sermons of 5 members of the clergy as part of the city's defense in a lawsuit challenging its rejection of petitions seeking repeal of the city's Equal Rights Ordinance. (See prior posting.)  Houston Chronicle reports that the governor and lieutenant governor on Sunday preached sermons at a Houston area church before a second signing of the bill.