A rare moment of rational debate broke out in the Texas Senate last week in the most unlikely of places — a committee hearing on a proposal to ban Texas courts from imposing  “foreign law” (code for Sharia law) on citizens. Hearings on this contentious subject in previous years have been marked by open bigotry and wild accusations against Muslim Americans.  But the Senate Business & Commerce Committee’s consideration of SB 1639 by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, took a different tone.

There were, to be sure, several testifiers who warned of the threat of a “hostile system of laws that has crept into our community” and peddled thinly veiled paranoia. But after these folks had their say, the committee heard from  a parade of informed, thoughtful testifiers who systematically took apart the case for the bill. Pastors, interfaith groups, civil liberty organizations and attorneys specializing in family law each in their turn challenged the need for — and motivation behind — the proposed bill.

The key exchange came at the end of incisive testimony by Karl Hayes of the Texas Family Law Foundation:

Hayes: “None of the proponents who have come forth to testify on this… Read More

As we have reported, an Arizona attorney and white supremacist who traffics in anti-Muslim and anti-black bigotry created the model legislation for House Bill 911, an anti-Sharia bill that passed the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee last week. And who is supporting HB 911? One supporter testifying in favor of state Rep. Leo Berman's bill during the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee hearing on April 4 described herself as a "national member of ACT! For America." ACT! describes itself as providing "American citizens a means to be a collective voice for the democratic values of Western Civilization, such as the celebration of life and liberty, as opposed to the authoritarian values of radical Islam, such as the celebration of death, terror and tyranny." In truth, ACT! works overtime to smear all Muslims as "radicals" and "militants." Read More

We're following up on last week's hearing in the Texas House on the so-called anti-Sharia bills. Take a look at this clip from the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee which took testimony on HB 911 by state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, and HB 3027 by state Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rODFnmnCOs0&w=480&h=390] Read More

Texas Freedom Network

So when we do this again in two years, how about we: - create an online voter registration system - allow college students to use their student IDs to vote. And when we do this one, let's also ... - require polling locations on university campuses #txlege