Texas Senate fritters time voting on national anthem at sporting events
May 12, 2021
The Texas Senate took on the national anthem on April 8 with a vote to approve the "Star Spangled Banner Protection Act," which would require any professional sports team that has a contract with the state government to play the national anthem before a game.
The singing of the national anthem before a game became a cause celebre when the Dallas Mavericks casually stopped playing the anthem before games out of respect for some of the players' feelings.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick jumped on that bone, first tweeting that owner Mark Cuban should sell the team so that "some Texas Patriots will buy it,'' then making legislation a priority.
The act was unsurprisingly supported by all 18 Republican senators, but also, surprisingly, supported by 10 out of 13 Democrats.
Only Sen. Sarah Eckhardt of Austin and Sen. Nathan Johnson, of Dallas voted against it. Heroes.
Democratic Senators who did vote for it included Royce West of Dallas, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, of McAllen and Eddie Lucio Jr., of Brownsville, who said they were voting in favor of the bill because of their support for military members and, in Lucio's case, for freedom of religion.
Regardless of the patriotism factor, forcing anyone to play the anthem could be viewed as a violation of the first amendment rights for private businesses.
The bill must still be approved by the House before it can become law.