The GOP-led chamber voted 28-2 to advance the "Star-Spangled Banner" Protection Act, with 11 Democrats voting in favor of passage. Before the Texas bill can become law, it will need approval of the state House.
Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the Senate chamber, was surprised to receive Democrat support on the bill. He said the 28-2 vote in favor of passage was "one of the more surprising votes" in his career, reported click2houston.com.
The "'Star Spangled Banner' Protection Act" is a Republican-backed bill that requires any professional sport team with state government contracts to play the national anthem before the start of any game, the Washington Examiner reported.
"Texans are tired of sports teams that pander, insulting our national anthem and the men and women who died fighting for our flag," Patrick wrote in a statement Thursday. "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."
Lt. Gov. Patrick decided in February the "Star-Spangled Banner" Protection Act was his highest priority because Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, stopped playing the anthem before Mavericks' home games.
Cuban's decision did not sit well with conservative lawmakers in the state.
Cuban has also been a proponent of kneeling by professional players as a form of social protest when the national anthem is played.
"Sell the franchise & some Texas Patriots will buy it," Patrick tweeted at the time. "We ARE the land of free & the home of the brave."
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