By Lauren McGaughy
Updated at 2:30 p.m. April 3, 2019, with details of the Texas Senate’s final vote, at 3:55 p.m. with a statement from Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and at 4:35 p.m. with a statement from Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo.
AUSTIN — The Texas Senate has approved a bill that would give legal cover to counselors, attorneys and other state-licensed professionals who deny services based on their religious beliefs.
Senate Bill 17 by Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, was passed Wednesday by a vote of 19-12. One Republican, Kel Seliger of Amarillo, voted against the bill and one Democrat, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, voted in favor during the preliminary vote on the bill Tuesday.
The bill would prohibit the state’s hundreds of occupational licensing boards from enacting rules or regulations that burden “an applicant’s or license holder’s free exercise of religion.” It would also give those licensed by the state — including lawyers, social workers and therapists — the ability to fight to keep their license if it is threatened because of actions they took based on their faith.
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