S.B. No. 572
  relating to in-person visitation of religious counselors with
  certain health care facility patients and residents during a public
  health emergency.
         SECTION 1.  The purpose of Chapter 260C, Health and Safety
  Code, as added by this Act, is to protect the religious liberty of
  each patient or resident of a health care facility and to protect
  health care facilities from costly lawsuits and administrative
  complaints based on religious discrimination by allowing patients
  and residents to receive in-person visitation with a religious
  counselor, provided that the health care facilities ensure
  compliance with health and safety requirements.
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle B, Title 4, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended by adding Chapter 260C to read as follows:
         Sec. 260C.001.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Health care facility" means:
                     (A)  a home and community support services agency
  licensed under Chapter 142;
                     (B)  a hospital licensed under Chapter 241;
                     (C)  a nursing facility licensed under Chapter
                     (D)  a continuing care facility regulated under
  Chapter 246;
                     (E)  an assisted living facility licensed under
  Chapter 247; or
                     (F)  a special care facility licensed under
  Chapter 248.
               (2)  "Public health emergency" means:
                     (A)  a state of disaster or local disaster
  declared under Chapter 418, Government Code; or
                     (B)  a public health disaster as defined by
  Section 81.003.
               (3)  "Religious counselor" means an individual acting
  substantially in a pastoral or religious capacity to provide
  spiritual counsel to other individuals.
  COUNSELOR. (a) A health care facility may not prohibit a resident or
  patient of the facility from receiving in-person visitation with a
  religious counselor during a public health emergency on the request
               (1)  the patient or resident; or
               (2)  if the patient or resident is incapacitated, the
  patient's or resident's legally authorized representative,
  including a family member of the patient or resident.
         (b)  Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the executive
  commissioner by rule shall develop guidelines to assist health care
  facilities in establishing in-person religious counselor
  visitation policies and procedures. The guidelines must:
               (1)  establish minimum health and safety requirements
  for in-person visitation with religious counselors;
               (2)  allow health care facilities to adopt reasonable
  time, place, and manner restrictions on in-person visitation with
  religious counselors to:
                     (A)  mitigate the spread of a communicable
  disease; and
                     (B)  address the patient's or resident's medical
               (3)  provide special consideration to patients and
  residents who are receiving end-of-life care; and
               (4)  allow health care facilities to condition
  in-person visitation with religious counselors on the counselor's
  compliance with guidelines, policies, and procedures established
  under this subsection.
         (c)  A health care facility may prohibit in-person
  visitation with a religious counselor during a public health
  emergency if federal law or a federal agency requires the health
  care facility to prohibit in-person visitation during that period.
         SECTION 3.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act, the executive commissioner of the Health and Human
  Services Commission by rule shall establish the guidelines required
  by Section 260C.002, Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 572 passed the Senate on    
  April 19, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendments on May 29, 2021, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 572 passed the House, with
  amendments, on May 20, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 146,
  Nays 0, one present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House