COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) — A representative from North Texas has filed legislation that would designate places of worship and religious activity as “essential” under Texas law.

If passed the bill by Representative Matt Shaheen would prevent the locations from being forcibly shut down because of a disaster declaration or any other reason.

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“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right protected for all Americans in the Constitution,” said Shaheen. “Because of egregious
government overreach and blatant discrimination against churches and other houses of worship, it is clear that we must act to grant them further protection.”

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Shaheen said he presented the legislation, “… after numerous examples across the nation of religious gatherings being expressly
prohibited while secular businesses have been permitted to continue to operate.”

During the COVID-19 shutdown in the Spring of 2020 coronavirus concerns and the need for social distancing put an end to most in-person services and forced the faith community to worship online.

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Shaheen, a Plano resident who serves Texas House District 66, said churches are being held to different and more stringent requirements than the some secular businesses.