The five held sit-ins in state Senate offices to protest Senate bill SB 237 not being moved to the Senate floor for a vote. The legislation is a statewide LGBT employment nondiscrimination law.
“We have three weeks to push hard,” Kirven said.
GetEQUAL TX had threatened action if the bill was not moved to the Senate floor by May 1. Kirven said additional actions are planned.
While they were being arrested, Kirven said she was talking to officers about the lack of workplace protection for LGBT people.
“No wonder you’re doing this,” she said her arresting officer told her.
Kirven said a vote from just one of four Republican Senators targeted is needed to move the bill to the floor.
A preliminary hearing for the arrested activists is set for May 15, but defense attorney Dax Garvin left the country this morning for several weeks. His associate Makenna Hatter said the first hearing is always reset in Travis County so the case will probably be rescheduled for the end of the month.
Garvin also represents Dallas marriage-equality demonstrators Major and Beau Jiminez.
Kirven said GetEQUAL plans polling place demonstrations on May 11 when municipal elections are held throughout the state to let the public know about the lack of workplace protections. She said other actions are planned in and around the Capitol through the session until the bill moves to the floor of both houses for a vote.
Class-B misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days. The court may also impose a maximum of two years of probation or three years of community supervision with an extension.
Kirven said she’s not sure if the charges against the group will stick. The Texas Capitol is considered public park land.
“You can’t criminally trespass on public land,” she said.
In 2010, Kirven was arrested in former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C., demonstrating for the federal ENDA bill. After serving six months probation, charges were dismissed.
After posting bail in Austin on Wednesday night, Kirven returned to Dallas and got home about 3 a.m.
“They haven’t seen the last of us,” Kirven said.