CALL TO ACTION
Hi y'all, 87TH TEXAS LEGE IS VERY HOT AND REPUBLICANS ARE READY TO SUBVERT DEMOCRACY - YOU CAN HELP! PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY DOWN.
What an awful week we had.
SB 7, Brisco Cain's voter suppression bill, passed out of the House in the wee hours of the morning and will head to the Governor's desk
SB 8, the anti-abortion bill, passed out of the House, headed for the Governor's desk
HB 1925, the criminalizing homelessness bill, passed out of the House and is headed to the Senate
SB 13, anti-capitalism bill that punishes companies for divesting from fossil fuels, passed out of the House and heads toward the Governor's desk
SB 29, the anti-trans athlete bill, had been killed in committee, only to be resurrected when the committee's chair, Harold Dutton pushed it out in retaliation for his charter school takeover bill HB 3270 being killed on the House floor
Extremist, permitless carry bill HB 1927 passed out of the Senate and heads to the Governor's desk. Only a few very vocal activists pushed this one through while most Texans oppose it.
And HB 3, the bill that takes away local voting access control during a pandemic, the bill we thought was dead, passed out of committee and will be heard on the House floor this week
Yikes. Bad bills made progress on nearly every front this week. We need to make noise about these so that our neighbors, friends, and family fully understand the problems that our state government is creating. State government should be working to solve problems and help Texans. Any legislator not up for the task needs to be challenged in 2022 and soundly defeated. That can only happen if all of us work to spread the news about what's happening at the lege.
But some good bills moved too!
Two education bills HB 764 that reduces high stakes testing and HB 2954 that provides mental health services to elementary schools both passed out of the House and head to the Senate.
HB 3270, Harold Dutton's bill that makes TEA takeovers of local school boards even easier, was killed on the House floor
HB 321, the bill that repeals the Tampon tax, passed out of its house committee just in time to still have a chance to become law this session
HB 2692, the radioactive waste bill, was stopped on the House floor and hopefully will die back in committee
A group of spirited, hard working activists demonstrated in Austin and Houston to stand up for voting rights and push back against Jim Crow 2.0
We are all still alive!
We are in the crazy, fast-moving, whiplash portion of the session. Lots of bills will move unexpectedly this week, but based on what we know today, here's what we expect:
Monday, HB 3 that takes away local control to pandemic response is scheduled for House floor debate
Monday, HB 574 that criminalizes voting is scheduled for Senate floor debate
Tuesday, HB 2438 that punishes local government budget prioritization is scheduled for House floor debate
After that, who knows, but more abortion access ristrictions and voting rights restrictions are likely. Bills aimed at fixing our broken, unreliable power grid? Unlikely.
Which leads us to actions for the week, and what each of us can do to push our state government in a direction that helps people instead of hurting them. Based on your feedback, I've also compiled bills, phone numbers to call for them, and scripts in a table. Hopefully it's helpful. Please keep sending your great feedback so this newsletter can be more useful! We'll try to keep our bill tracker (google sheets and web) current throughout the week, but send us any updates if we've missed them!
1. Monday - Call your Rep to OPPOSE HB 3
Call your Rep to OPPOSE HB 3 that takes away local control to voting access and other things during a pandemic or natural disaster
HB 3 does a lot of things, but the main takeaway is that it limits local control to pandemic response. In a state as huge as Texas, we all know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to pandemic response. Let our local leaders lead.
Read: Texas Tribune: Debate ramps up at Texas Legislature over governor’s emergency powers during pandemic
Say: "Hi, I'm a constituent of Rep _____, and I'm calling today to OPPOSE HB 3. Governor Abbott proved ineffective at best during the last 14 months of COVID response. Over 50,000 Texans died from COVID-19, and almost 3M Texans were infected with the virus. Hampering local response does nothing but endanger lives. [Tell your personal story here] Please urge the Representative to vote NO on HB 3. My zip code is _____. Thank you."
2. Call to SUPPORT HB 133
Call the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and your Senator to SUPPORT HB 133 that extends Medicaid coverage for new moms
If we can force people to carry babies full term, the least we can do is help them maintain some healthcare coverage. If that sounds snarky, well, it is, but that doesn't diminish the importance of this good bill. For more background, phone numbers, and a script, read our CTA.
3. Call to OPPOSE SB 29
Call Calendar Committee Chair Rep Burrows at 512-463-0542 and Speaker Phelan 512-463-1000 to OPPOSE SB 29
We thought SB 29 (anti-trans athlete bill) was dead earlier in the week, but then Rep Dutton brought it back to life. Make sure it doesn't move any further and follow the guidance in our CTA.
4. Call Governor Abbott to VETO SB 7 / HB 6
Call Governor Abbott at 512-463-2000 to VETO SB 7 / HB 6, the Jim Crow 2.0 Voter Suppression bill
Here's our previous CTA on these bills. Call the Governor and tell him to let Texans vote!
5. Call to SUPPORT HB 764 and HB 2954
Call the Senate Education Committee to SUPPORT HB 764 that reduces high stakes testing and HB 2954 that provides mental health programs to elementary schools
For more: texasscorecard: House Bill Proposes Reform of Student Testing
Say: "Hi, I'm calling the committee to SUPPORT HB 764 to reduce the burden of testing on Texas students and teachers. Please encourage the Representative to vote YES on HB 764 and pass it out of committee. Thank you."
6. Call Governor Abbott to VETO SB 13 and HB 17
Call Governor Abbott 512-463-2000 to VETO SB 13 that penalizes corporations from divesting from fossil fuels, and HB 17 that prevents appliance electrification
7. Call to OPPOSE SB 28
Call the House Public Education Committee to OPPOSE SB 28 that would remove important checks on charter schools
Keep pushing the House Public Ed Committee to oppose SB 28. Read more about it, plus phone numbers to call and a script in our CTA.
8. Keep Calling on High Priority Bills
Keep calling, emailing, visiting, and writing letters to your legislators for the following bills we're focused on:
a. Call the House Calendars Committee and your Rep to Keep Abortion Access Safe and Legal. Even though SB 8 / HB 1515 passed already, there are more bills to call to OPPOSE. Bill numbers, info, scripts and more are all available on our CTA to OPPOSE HBs 3218, 3760, 2313, and 2337
b. Call your Senator to OPPOSE HB 1925 (criminalizes homelessness). More info in our previous CTA.
c. Call your Senator to OPPOSE HB 20 (bad bail reform) that has floor debate on 5/3. Read the Texas Civil Rights Project's letter to learn more about why HB 20 is bad for Texas.
d. Call Speaker Phalen & House Appropriations to Expand Medicaid in Texas by SUPPORTING HB 3871 and HB 1741. Neither of these bills are out of committee yet, but HB 3871 has bipartisan support. Let's save Texas lives and Texas money. Support Expanding Medicaid CTA
e. Call Governor Abbott to OPPOSE HB 1927, permitless carry. The House and Senate have both passed HB 1927. Push on the Governor's office to do what's right for Texans.
It'll be another big week in the legislature this week. The clock is ticking for bills to get moving, so expect a lot of surprises and zombie bills getting resurrected and tacked onto other bills!
Keep up the important work! We will get through this session!
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