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Dana Hodges represented both CWA of Texas and herself as she gave testimony in support of SB 6. It was passed out of committee with a 7-1 vote.
Senate Committee on State Affairs
Hearing on Senate Bill 6
Dana Hodges, State Director of Concerned Women for America of Texas
March 7, 2017
Madam Chairman and members of the committee: My name is Dana Hodges and I am speaking today in favor of Senate Bill 6. I am the State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Texas. CWA is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation.
As the leader of a women’s organization, I work with and represent a wide variety of women from many different backgrounds and socio-economic sectors. Those members have made their wishes known to CWA and what they have conveyed is that Texas needs legislation passed that will protect the privacy, safety and dignity of women and girls in public restrooms and changing facilities. I wholeheartedly agree with their concern and am here as their messenger to pass along their wishes to this committee.
But I come today, not only as a leader of a women’s organization, but also as a private Texas citizen, to plead with you to give this bill your serious and prayerful consideration. You see, the reason I’m so passionate about seeing this bill passed into law is because I myself was a victim of being videotaped by a hidden camera placed in a women’s public bathroom stall by a man.
One day several years ago, I received a phone call notifying me that a hidden video camera was found inside a women’s bathroom stall that I had visited. Images of me were found among the footage. The camera was hidden in a small, white plastic coat hook, exactly like the one I’ve brought with me today. As you can see, it looks completely innocent and no one would dream that a video recording device was hidden inside the small opening. Thankfully the device was found and turned over to the authorities before the man who placed it inside the women’s bathroom stall was able to retrieve it. I shudder to think at what could have happened to the footage had the man gained access to the camera before it was found.
Going through this experience was especially traumatic for me as a survivor of rape that happened when I was a teenager. Knowing that someone had violated me again dredged up lots of old memories and emotions. I struggled for over a year to use any public bathroom for fear that there was a recording device hidden somewhere inside.
We have heard many of the news reports of females being assaulted in public restrooms, but how many more instances do we not hear about because women do not even realize that they have been secretly videoed without their knowledge?
Senate Bill 6 specifically refers to public buildings, which, of course, includes public schools. Opening up the bathrooms and locker rooms for boys to freely enter into the girls’ facilities is a disaster waiting to happen. I was able to purchase this hook with the camera embedded in it for $12 online. What seventh grade boy isn’t able to order the very same hook, place it in the girls’ locker room since he has unrestricted access, then retrieve the camera and upload the images to the internet?
Thankfully, I am a woman of faith. Faith that God can use my traumatic experience to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s why I am here sharing my story today, albeit an uncomfortable one to share. I don’t wish for anyone to ever go through what I went through. Let’s pass Senate Bill 6 into law so we won’t ever have to look at our sisters, daughters and mothers and tell them we stood idly by and did nothing to protect them.
Three important bills which we have previously brought to your attention will be heard early next week at the State Capitol in Austin. Please act on these bills by the end of tomorrow if at all possible.
Homeowners Religious Freedom Act, HB 522, sponsored by Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy), would undo language from a previous bill (HB 1278) which authorized homeowners’ associations (HOA) to dictate to homeowners whether or not religious displays are allowed on their own property (up to the front door), and it gave HOA’s the authority to remove any of these displays if they were at any point deemed offensive.
It’s outrageous to even suggest that homeowners’ religious liberties be regulated, but it’s not just an idea at this point; it is law. This must be undone. Support the right of Texans to worship freely at our own homes.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. You shall write [these words] on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5,9)
Status: HB 522 is in the House Committee on Business & Industry with a hearing scheduled for March 6 at 11:00 a.m.
Action needed: Contact the committee members and ask them to support HB 522. Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Texas.
Texas Privacy Act, SB 6, sponsored by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), is a necessary piece of legislation. It ought to be common sense that boys and girls should not share locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms, but alas the obvious doesn’t seem quite so obvious to some. Even though President Trump has walked back President Obama’s executive transgender directive for public schools, we still need to proactively protect the women and children of Texas. The Privacy Act would protect the privacy of all and applies to public schools, colleges, universities, and government-owned facilities. For more information, click here.
“… male and female God created them …” (Genesis 1:27)
“… but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
Status: SB 6 is in the Senate Committee on State Affairs with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 at 8:00 a.m.
Action needed: Contact the committee members and ask them to support SB 6. Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Texas.
Church Security Protection Act, HB 421, sponsored by Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) would remove burdensome regulations on churches. With violent church attacks on the rise, not having security is not an option, but churches must currently undergo onerous requirements and formidable expenses in order to have a security team or ministry.
Status: HB 421 is in the House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 at 8:00 a.m.
Action needed: Contact the committee members and ask them to support HB 421. Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Texas.
- for the passage of each of these bills.
- for CWA of Texas State Director, Dana Hodges, as she testifies at each of these hearings. Pray that the Holy Spirit will speak through her. “Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. You will even be brought before governors and kings, for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. … do not worry about how and what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10:16, 18, 20-21)
- if at all possible, during the exact moment of these hearings. (Monday, March 6 at 11:00 a.m. and Tuesday, March 7 at 8:00 a.m.)
In His service,
Please join us for our upcoming “CWA Faith and Family Dinner with the Legislators” in Austin on March 15. This is our biennial fundraiser event that takes place in conjunction with the Texas Faith and Family Day sponsored by CWA of Texas and multiple other outstanding pro-family organizations. The dinner will take place at 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn – Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake) in Austin.
Join us and dozens of Texas Legislators for an evening of fun, fellowship, and inspiration. This is an event that you don’t want to miss!
The following day is the Faith and Family Day at the Capitol, where attendees will have the opportunity to hear about various bills pertaining to our faith and family values and be given practical steps on how to personally play a role in seeing these bills passed into law. It’s an exciting day of information and advocacy! The briefing session will be followed by a Faith and Family Rally on the South steps of the Capitol.
We look forward to having you join us in Austin for these special events.
To find out more details and to register for our “CWA Faith and Family Dinner with the Legislators” and the Faith and Family Day, go to texasfaithandfamily.com. Purchase tickets to the dinner online with a credit/debit card, or mail a check to CWA of Texas, P.O. Box 1386, Orange, TX 77631.
For more information, please email me at [email protected].
Prayerfully consider joining us for these very important advocacy events, and let your voice be heard!
Much has been happening in Austin as the 85th Legislative session is in full swing. We currently have three bills that we would like for you to assist us in by both praying and taking action.
Dismemberment Abortion Ban
Senate Bill 415, “Relating to a prohibition on the performance of dismemberment abortions; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense.”
Tomorrow, February 15, there will be a hearing on this key pro-life bill, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. This ban would end the gruesome practice of dismemberment abortions and make it a criminal offense when committed. We all became aware of how this horrific abortion practice was being widely performed in the recent undercover Planned Parenthood videos. CWA of Texas will be present at this hearing and will be testifying to the need for this strong pro-life legislation. Click here for more information on this bill.
Texas Privacy Act
Senate Bill 6, “Relating to regulations and policies for entering or using a bathroom or changing facility; authorizing a civil penalty; increasing criminal penalties.”
We have been working with Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-District 18) and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to garner support for SB 6, the Texas Privacy Act. As your CWA State Director, I personally met with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to express the desire of the CWA of Texas members to see the Texas Privacy Act passed in order to provide protection for women and girls in public restrooms and changing facilities. I was invited to testify on behalf of this bill and will convey the pressing need to protect women from predators in public facilities. Click here for more information on this bill.
Church Security Protection Act
House Bill 421, “Relating to the exemption from application of the Private Security Act of certain persons who provide security services on a volunteer basis at a place of religious worship.”
Another bill that CWA of Texas is placing a great deal of focus on and support for is HB 421, authored by Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-District 115). This bill is called the Church Security Protection Act and would allow church parishioners to provide volunteer security services for their congregation without obtaining a professional security guard commission or letter of authority from the Texas Private Security Board. Under current state statute, if parishioners organize to provide security services and they have not jumped through the necessary hoops, they stand in violation of the law. With the current societal push toward targeting places of worship, we need to stand strong for this bill in order for churches to be able to protect their congregations without burdensome government regulations and interference. Click here for more information on this bill.
- Contact your State Senator and ask them to please support and co-sponsor SB 415 (Dismemberment Abortion Ban) and SB 6 (Texas Privacy Act).
- Contact your State Representative and ask them to please support and co-sponsor HB 421 (Church Security Protection Act).
- Forward this e-alert to friends and family and ask them to pray and take action.
It is vital that you both call and email your legislators concerning these bills as they need to hear a loud and definite stance from us on this. Click here to find out who your senator or representative is and how to contact them. Put in your address under “Who Represents Me?”
- Pray for SB 415 to be passed out of committee and sent to the Senate floor for a vote. Pray for the success of this bill all the way to the Governor’s desk for signing.
- Pray that SB 6 and HB 421 will get assigned to a committee and be given a hearing so our voices can be heard on these issues.
In His service,
Great News! At a press conference on Thursday at our state Capitol in Austin, State Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-District 18) alongside Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, announced the filing of Senate Bill 6, called the Women’s Privacy Act. The State of Texas has a duty to protect the privacy, safety and dignity of all Texans, especially when they are in government buildings. This law ensures commonsense–men and boys should not be in girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms.
This bill needs your support! Please contact your state senator today to express your support for this outstanding legislation!
Some Texas school districts, at the encouragement of the Obama administration and its local cohorts, are ignoring commonsense and adopting policies that force boys and girls to shower together, stay together on school trips, and use the same locker rooms and bathrooms. Two Texas school boards recently implemented such policies and practices behind closed doors, without a vote from the school board or input from parents. This is not acceptable and demonstrates the great need for the state to enact legislation to stop this.
The privacy of school children needs to be protected!
Pertaining to private businesses, this bill plainly states that the government “may not adopt or enforce an order, ordinance, or other measure that relates to the designation or use of a private entity’s bathroom or changing facility or that requires or prohibits the entity from adopting a policy on the designation or use of the entity’s bathroom…”. If private businesses want to allow unsafe environments for their patrons, we will speak to this by refusing to spend our money at their businesses. Private business owners should never be forced to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs by being compelled by a governmental entity to create genderless bathrooms in their place of business. So you can see this bill will have zero impact on private business. There is no valid argument that this will have any effect on the economy within the state of Texas.
Please support this outstanding legislation!
Please Pray. God’s Word is clear. There is no question regarding a clear designation of gender. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27) Pray for your senator by name. Ask the Lord to give him/her wisdom and conviction in this matter.
We are greatly encouraged knowing you are interceding on behalf of our state.
Take Action! Though it is unknown how soon this bill will go to the senate floor for a vote, senators need to hear from us now as to the position of their constituents as this issue heats up.
- Thank Sen. Lois Kolkhorst for filling SB 6. Thank her for recognizing that there is a need for this commonsense legislation in the state of Texas. Contact her office at 512-463-0118 or email.
- Contact your Senator and ask him/her to co-sign SB and vote YES when it goes to the floor for a vote. Click here to find out who your senator is and how to contact him/her. Simply scroll down the right side of the page to “Who Represents Me?” and plug in your address.
- Contact your like-minded friend and family and ask them to pray and act on this important issue.
Watch for updates on this bill. We will keep you informed on our activities on this bill and when it gets closer to a vote.
Please prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible donation to CWA of Texas. Our leadership team will incur expenses traveling to Austin to advocate for this bill and testify on behalf of the bill during the legislative hearing. Your donation of any amount will help offset those expenses and is greatly appreciated. You can mail your check to PO Box 1386, Orange, TX, 77631 or donate now by donating online at tx.cwfa.org.
Thank you for being a part of this hugely important work in our state!
The action item at a Concerned Women for America (CWA) Prayer/Action Chapter is not always a policy-related action; sometimes it is an action that has a very personal impact. For the last nine years, the CWA Prayer/Action Chapter at the First Baptist Church in Post, Texas, has been reaching out at Christmas time to make a difference in the life of a family in their small community. The Chapter adopts a family and provides their Christmas for them. This year the Chapter delivered Christmas to a single mom with three little children (3, 2 and 1 years old). Clothes, toys, children’s furniture, rugs, toiletries and food were provided to the family. The members of the Chapter coordinate the activity, and the members of the church provide all of the gifts for the family’s Christmas. The generosity of the people of First Baptist Church Post is pretty amazing! When everything is delivered a few days before Christmas, the smiles and tears say all that is needed to be said! Merry Christmas to all!