Texas Legislative Update – Summary

The 85th Legislature of Texas

Rep. Bernal sheds light on the 85th Lege.

Thanks to democratic State Representative Diego Bernal who, on June 19th, gave us a wrap-up of the 85th Texas Legislative session.  He noted that this was the most conservative, least progressive session he’d experienced.  Rep. Bernal stated that this session resulted in attacks on women’s health, local control and public education. He stated that his job has been to modify where he can and otherwise object to the more egregious bills.

He sees the so-called “Bathroom bill” (SB 6) and others as potential Trojan horses opening the way to legalized discrimination against children.  He asked, “Is there a level of discrimination we’re willing to accept simply because that’s the best we can do?”  Good point.  BCDW is committed to fighting intolerance and discrimination.

SB 6, the “Anti-sanctuary bill”,  requires local and campus police to question a person’s citizenship when detaining (not just arresting) an individual they suspect might be illegally in this country.  Amendments aimed at exempting women’s shelters, school events and children failed on party lines.

HB 21, the commendable school funding bill, a first attempt by the House to significantly increase funding to public schools by $1.8 billion and to rectify some of the convoluted funding mechanisms of current law, was torpedoed by Dan Patrick and the Senate’s insistence on reducing the addtional funds to $530 million – much of which the Senate whould have used for private and religious school vouchers.  Rep. Bernal, Co-chair of the House Committee on Public Education, Chairman Huberty and Speaker Straus rightly refused to accept the voucher amendment.  It would have benefited very few children at a potentially damaging cost to public education while opening the door to state funded religious and private, for-profit schools.

Significantly,he urged us to have stamina; to keep on doing everything we can to hold our state government accountable.  We must stay actively involved through the Special Session which begins JULY 18th.  Watch your emails and this space for suggestions.

Blue Ribbon Lobby Day 2017

On Monday, April 10th, BCDW participated in the Texas Democratic Women’s Blue Ribbon Lobby Day.  We had a  strong presence, proudly wearing blue, and focusing attention on key women’s issues.  We were recognized in both the House and the Senate.

Your president, Diann Andy, met with with Representative Diego Bernal and the staffers of six other Bexar County Representatives, as well as staffers for Senator Jose Menendez.  She discussed BCDW’s priorities and commitment to:

1. Health care for all, especially women’s reproductive health.
2. Humane and fair treatment of all immigrants.
3. Voting rights and accessibility (including online and same-day registration).
4. Quality, fully-funded PreK-12 Public Education
5. Gun sense laws.
6. Raising the minimum wage which disproportionately and adversely affects women and children.