Saturday, June 12, 2021

Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers

State Representative Rhetta Andrews Bowers (HD 113) successfully added an amendment on the House Floor to Senate Bill 14 that will ensure municipalities and counties have the ability to pass local versions of the CROWN Act.

CROWN Acts—Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair— prevent discrimination on the basis of hair texture or protective hairstyle associated with race. Versions have passed in 22 local jurisdictions and 9 states across the nation.

Senate Bill 14, authored in the Senate by Chairman Creighton and Sponsored by Representative Phil King, relates to regulation by a municipality or county of certain employment benefits and policies. S.B. 14 amends the Labor Code to prohibit a municipality or county from passing ordinances regulating private employment practices, which results in a patchwork of different regulations.

Representative Bowers added an amendment to ensure that local municipalities maintain their right to prevent hiring and employment discrimination of the basis of hair texture or protective hairstyle associated with race. S.B. 14 passed on third reading in the House and is now on its way back to the Senate to concur with the House amendments.

 

Rep. Rhetta Andrews Bowers

Representative Bowers introduced the Texas CROWN Act as House Bill 392 in the 87th Legislative Session. This civil rights legislation prohibits race-based hair discrimination—the denial of employment, educational and housing opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or bantu knots. H.B. 392 is bipartisan legislation Jointly Authored by Representative Reynolds, Representative Rose, Representative Sherman, and Representative Buckley.

There are 58 Coauthors of the CROWN Act in the Texas House of Representatives. It was voted unanimously out of the Committee on State Affairs and was placed on the General State Calendar for May 12, 2021 but failed to be read before the midnight deadline the next day.

“This session, I laid the groundwork to pass a statewide CROWN Act through introduction, education, and awareness,” said Representative Bowers. “In the meantime, it is important that we preserve the ability of our local colleagues to pass crucial civil rights policy in their own jurisdictions to end race-based hair discrimination.”

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