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THE WOODLANDS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Sunday a bill that prevents state and local governments from issuing subpoenas for religious sermons.

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In what’s been known as the “Sermon Safeguard Bill,” the new law also protects religious leaders from being compelled to testify regarding their sermons.

Gov. Abbott signed the new law at Grace Community Church in The Woodlands along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and faith leaders from across Texas.

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In a statement, Gov. Abbott said:

“Freedom of religion is the most sacred of our rights – it is what makes us America and is what gave our nation its start. Efforts to erode religious liberty are a threat to all liberty, and our religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that religious freedom is beyond the reach of government. I am proud to sign this bill to shield our pastors’ sermons from subpoena and their right to speak freely about their faith. As governor, I will always fight to preserve our religious liberty as Americans, and as Texans.”

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The law goes into effect immediately.