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Five Things to Expect At the State of the Union

President Obama’s final State of the Union address is on Tuesday, January 12th at 8pm CST. Here are five things to know:

  1. What we wish Obama would do in his final SOTU (probably won't....)

  2. Who Will Be There

    President Obama will have in attendance several honored guests who represent significant progressive gains in America:

    • Gloria Balenski – A beneficiary of the Affordable Care Act.
    • Satya Nadella – The CEO of Microsoft, which recently increased its paid family leave to 20 weeks for mothers and 12 weeks for non-birth parents.
    • Oscar Vasquez – A DREAMer who came to the U.S. when he was 12 and is now an army veteran.
    • Jim Obergefell – The plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, that legalized marriage equality across the country.
  3. Who Won’t Be There

    One seat in the First Lady’s guest box will be left open to honor victims of gun violence.

  4. Why It Matters for Texas

    Healthcare

    Although more Texans have gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, Texas has the largest uninsured population in the country, with over 5 million people still lacking health insurance. Meanwhile, Governor Abbott continues to reject federal funding for expanding Medicaid, which could insure up to 2 million Texans.

    Paid Leave

    There is no Texas law that guarantees employees the ability to earn paid sick and family leave. Nearly 45% of private sector workers in Texas—more than 4 million Texans—cannot earn a single paid sick day, let alone any paid family leave. Too many women — who make up the majority of low-wage workers in Texas — are acutely impacted by the denial of the right to earn paid leave.

    Immigration

    Governor Greg Abbott initiated the lawsuit against President Obama’s immigration executive action during his tenure as Texas’ Attorney General. This lawsuit — which has been ruled on by some of the most conservative federal judges in the country, including one in Texas — is keeping millions of Texas parents and children — whom could have qualified for deferred action under the executive action — apart.

    LGBTQ Equality

    The fight for LGBTQ equality didn’t end with the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. In much of Texas today it is legal to fire, deny housing, or refuse service to gay and transgender Texans simply because of who they are. Polling shows that a majority of Texans support a law protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination.

    Gun Violence

    Gun violence kills or injures approximately 3,500 Texans a year. Although universal background checks have been shown to reduce gun violence in states that require them, up to 40% of gun purchases in Texas are made without a background check.

  5. The Predictable GOP Response