Texas Protection of Rights of Conscience for Child Welfare Services Providers (HB 3859)
This law was last updated on Oct 31, 2017
HB 3859 would prohibit the state, or any person that contracts with the state, from taking adverse action against a child welfare services provider on the basis that the provider declines to provide a child care service that conflicts with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the provider.
The state would not be able to discriminate or take any adverse action against a child welfare services provider on the basis, wholly or partly, that the provider:
- has declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services that conflict with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider ’s sincerely held religious beliefs;
- provides or intends to provide children under the control, care, guardianship, or direction of the child welfare services provider with a religious education, including through placing the children in a private or parochial school or otherwise providing a religious education in accordance with the laws of Texas;
- has declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for abortions, contraceptives, or drugs, devices, or services that are potentially abortion-inducing; or
- refuses to enter into a contractor that is inconsistent with or would in any way interfere with or force a provider to surrender the rights created by this chapter.
The bill would prohibit a child welfare services provider from being required to provide any services that conflict with the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
The bill would require a governmental entity or any person that operates under governmental authority to refer or place children for child welfare services to:
- ensure that a secondary service provider is available in that catchment area to provide such services; or
- if there is an insufficient number of secondary service providers willing or available in that catchment area to provide those services, provide for one or more secondary service providers in an adjacent catchment area.
A child welfare services provider may assert an actual or threatened violation of this law as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and obtain the appropriate relief.
If passed, the bill would allow child welfare providers the right to discriminate in, or refuse, the services they offer (such as child placement, counseling, and abuse assistance) to LGBTQ families and children.
Similar to HB 3864, which failed to pass in 2015.
Passed the house on May 10, 2017, by a 94-51 vote.
Passed the senate on May 22, 2017, by a 21-10 vote.
Signed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on June 15, 2017.