The bill, filed by state Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway), would make it mandatory to play the national anthem at sporting events in stadiums funded by taxpayers.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick voiced support for the bill in February, saying that the Star-Spangled Banner Protection Act will be among his legislative priorities this session. He issued a statement when the bill passed the Texas Senate:
"Sports bring us together at a time when too many things divide us. Congratulations to Sen. Buckingham and the Texas Senate for their support of this important piece of legislation. Texans are tired of sports teams that pander, insulting our national anthem and the men and women who died fighting for our flag. The passage of SB 4 will ensure Texans can count on hearing the Star Spangled Banner at major sports events throughout the state that are played in venues that taxpayers support. We must always remember that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave."
The bill was introduced after Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, announced they would no longer be playing the national anthem at home games in February.
However, shortly after Cuban's announcement, the NBA released a statement stating that "all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy," and Cuban responded that the Mavericks would be playing the anthem before their home game against the Atlanta Hawks that night.
SB 4 now goes to the Texas House.