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.