The HDC is looking to hire a third position in our office — a communications and outreach director. This person will compliment the current Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director, with a major focus on helping with HDC and Member-specific communications needs. A job description with information on how to apply is embedded here. Please feel free to apply yourself or to share with your networks and/or anyone you think might be interested.
Friday marked the last day for members to file non-local bills this legislative session. As of the close of business Friday, more than 4,600 bills were filed, with House Democrats filing nearly half of all bills. Now, the real challenge begins — getting those bills a committee hearing and onto the House floor for a vote.
Legislation filed by HDC members addresses a wide array of issues, from expanding health care access for uninsured Texans, supporting our public schools, protecting voting rights and promoting clean air and water to give just a few examples. These issues reflect our core values as Democrats. They’re also the issues Texans expect state government to address. House Democrats will be working every day to deliver real solutions for all Texans.
Check out some HDC members’ bills below:
- HB 565 by Rep. Coleman would expand Medicaid coverage in Texas and put the Affordable Care Act protections into law.
- HB 10 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson would create the Texas Mental & Behavioral Health Research Institute to study the causes of mental illnesses in Texas children.
- HB 100 by Rep. Eric Johnson would require an analysis of expected effects of climate change on Texas agencies’ services.
- HB 204 by Rep. Thierry would mandate the inclusion of mental health in the current health enrichment curriculum.
- HB 22 by Rep. Romero would require voting machines to print paper receipts to help address glitches at the ballot box.
- HB 241 by Rep. Farrar would extend postpartum Medicaid coverage to one year after a woman gives birth or miscarries.
- HB 328 by Rep. Ortega would allow a county or municipality to establish a local minimum wage.
- HB 1950 by Rep. Zwiener would allow students at a Texas college campus to use their student IDs to vote.
- HB 935 by Rep. Bucy would make elections on even years a holiday for state employees
In the House chamber Monday, Texas Rep. Helen Giddings (D-DeSoto) called on the membership to stand with her as she denounced hatred, bigotry and terrorism in the wake of Saturday’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“Members, this past weekend, we witnessed a white supremacist hate group infiltrate the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying torches on Friday night, on Saturday they filled the streets with venom, with bigotry and with violence,” Giddings said, before mentioning the three lives lost Saturday in the protest.
To continue reading this story go to NBC Dallas/Fort Worth.
House and Senate Democrats on Monday unveiled their priorities for the upcoming special legislative session, including some measures that fall in line with the agenda Gov. Greg Abbott laid out in his call and some that depart entirely from it.
In a joint press conference, Democratic leaders in both chambers vowed to champion the issues “that matter to all Texans,” and to fight for legislation that will protect “our kids, our economy, our health and our communities.” Priorities for the Democrats include school finance reform and reducing maternal mortality — both of which are on Abbott’s list in some capacity. Several other issues, including criminal justice reform and equal pay, are not — and are unlikely to make it to the floor for a vote.
To continue reading this story go to the Texas Tribune.
Next time you spend hours in line at a Department of Public Safety office trying to get your license renewed, you’ll have something in common with the legislators and staffers coming back to Austin for a special session later this month.
Those lines and this session are both wasteful, senseless situations created by a betrayal of the principles that once drove government in this state.
To continue this story go to the El Paso Times.
The good news is the Legislature is done, and we finished a two-year budget despite contentious issues like women’s health and so-called “bathroom bills.”
The bad news is Gov. Abbott called a special session to address these same issues again.
I don’t like to needlessly fight, and you may hear the excitement in my voice at the thought of returning July 18 to argue over what the House and Senate could not agree upon. So I don’t expect a different outcome — can you say “definition of insanity?” — but I do expect we will spend north of $1 million dollars for the sake of political posturing.
To continue reading this story go to the Austin American-Statesman.
DALLAS – State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session next month is a failure of leadership and shows he needs to be more involved in the legislative process.
“The reality is this special session announcement is really representative of a failure of leadership on the governor’s part. He wasn’t engaged at all during the regular session. That was the time to talk about issues and push the legislature if he wants to get things done. He’s just simply trying to seize the spotlight here and trying to get some of the attention back on him,” said Turner during an appearance on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday morning.
To continue reading this story go to WFFA8.
“[The Legislature is] the place to put down the guns, unclench the fists and act like decent, full-grown humans willing to solve their differences without violence. And — this is the part that actually makes it work — to abide by the results until the next time to fight, whether that’s in court, at the polls or in the next legislative session.”
— Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune
Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey attempts to minimize the events in the Texas House of Representatives on the last day of the session (“Men will be boys”), where a member of the majority party threatened a peaceful protest of an unjust law, calling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and yelling for deportations. The protesters were predominantly Hispanic.
To continue reading this story go to Trib Talk.
The meltdown on the final day of the 85th legislative session hardly came as a surprise. This story did not begin that day. It has been smoldering underneath the surface the entire session, with polarization and attacks on motives and character becoming the norm. Candidly, what is muttered away from the microphone is sadly far worse than what the public can hear or see.
The Texas House descended into chaos on May 29. When a protest broke out in the House gallery, the worst of our natures emerged. There were threats of violence, shoving, and even calls to deport peaceful protestors.
To continue reading this story go to the Houston Chronicle.
There’s a tremendous amount of work to do in the last two weeks of session. The budget negotiations, especially in regards to health care cuts that could dramatically exceed what the state suffered from in 2003 and 2011, will be front and center. And of course we’ll all be working to pass our bills through the Senate and get our priorities across the finish line.
But before we look ahead to the busy closing weeks, I want to take a moment to share my thoughts on last week.
The dysfunction I saw on the floor of the House last week was unlike anything I’ve seen in my time in the Legislature. A small group of Tea Party Republicans effectively hijacked the Legislative process from many of us who have worked in good faith towards a productive session. Lawmakers killed an entire Local & Consent Calendar for “policy” reasons — then those same lawmakers voted against a cyber-bullying bill and a bill cracking down on human trafficking. It’s enough to make you wonder just what kind of “policy” those lawmakers really care about.
Their actions are the latest example of misplaced priorities taking over the business of the Texas House. From the so-called “sanctuary city” bill to allowing child service providers to divide and discriminate against foster kids, House Republicans continue to ignore the real needs of Texas families in favor of controversial and likely unconstitutional measures that will tear families apart.
Fortunately, House Democrats were able to stall out some of the worst House bills of the session and, at the same time, ensure passage of critical legislation:
- SB 179 “David’s Law”, carried by Rep. Ina Minjarez, will take serious steps to address the epidemic of cyber-bullying
- HB 2552 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson was passed, one of many measures she’s authored this session to crack down on human trafficking
- HB 3576 by Rep. Bobby Guerra creates more resources for tracking and prevention the Zika virus
- HB 245 by Rep. Eric Johnson finally passed, which will enforce reporting and data collection on police shootings
During a week where in-party fighting led to House Republicans shutting down the House, I’m proud that Democrats were able to stay focused on important priorities that will help Texas families.
There’s a lot left to do in the final weeks, and I’m proud to be working with each and every one of you to see it gets done.