(TEXAS) – December marks nine months since the first COVID-19 cases were reported in Texas. Over the past month, multiple Texas counties have set new case records and hospitalizations remain dangerously high. Worst of all, more than 24,000 Texans have lost their lives to date.
Since April, Governor Greg Abbott has assumed and maintained unilateral control of the pandemic response. The governor has not changed course or altered strategies even as case numbers skyrocketed, leading even the Trump Administration to call on Texas to do more to respond to this crisis.
In contrast, House Democrats have been working hard to help Texas manage the pandemic. Numerous Democratic Members have been participating in the House Democratic Caucus COVID-19 workgroups since April, working on issues such as health care, education, economic and recovery. Now, with the 87th Session approaching, Democrats have already pre-filed several pieces of legislation related to COVID-19, with more expected in the months ahead.
A few examples of Democratic COVID-19 legislation include:
- HB 34 and HB 47 by Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), which would grant insurance coverage for first responders and school district employees who contract COVID-19.
- HB 619 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), which would require the development of a strategic plan to support and improve the child-care workforce, with a focus on the racial, gender and pay inequities that exist in the workforce.
- HB 797 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), which would allow home and hospice agencies to administer certain vaccines.
“Governor Abbott made the decision to be solely responsible for Texas’ pandemic response, but thankfully that will finally change once the legislative session begins in January,” said Representative Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. “House Democrats stand ready to lead when it comes to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and helping Texas recover.”
See the attached addendum for details on additional bills filed thus far by House Democratic Members related to COVID-19.
The Texas House Democratic Caucus, which is composed of all Democrats in the Texas House, serves as the group’s membership services and logistical arm, and works to support House Democrats with communications, policy, and legal resources. Chaired by Rep. Chris Turner (D – Grand Prairie), the Caucus is focused on fighting for real solutions for all Texans.
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