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Friday, January 3, 2014
Demand Rick Perry's Cronies Stop Preying on Texas Consumers

William White is Chair of the Texas Finance Commission, but maybe not for long. Aggressive attacks on Texas consumers and a strained defense of his employer -- Cash America, whose PAC has donated $35,000 to Governor Rick Perry and $21,000 to Greg Abbott over the years -- have a number of Texas' elected officials calling for White's resignation.

There are at least three reasons to call for William White's resignation:

  1. Arrogant attacks on Texans in defense of predatory payday lenders that employ him
     
  2. White disputes a $19 million fine against his employer, Cash America, for predatory lending practices; it was also discovered the company shredded documents in an attempted cover-up
     
  3. Possible illegal use of his office to exert pressure on the Texas Legislature for softer payday lending laws

Additional background on each of these reasons is below, along with links to recent news stories on this subject matter and a few general resources about predatory payday lending practices in Texas.

Sign our petition to Governor Rick Perry urging him to call on Texas Finance Commission Chair William White to resign his post.

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Monday, December 23, 2013
Progress Texas' Ten Favorite Images of 2013

As we look back at the work we did in 2013, here are our staff's 10 favorite images from the year. From Abbott and Ted Cruz to the Stand With Texas Women movement, here's what we liked the most. To like or share, just click on the image.

#10

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Thursday, December 19, 2013
Gregg Costa Nominated to 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

President Obama has picked federal district court judge Gregg Costa to fill one of the emergency vacancies on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. From the Dallas Morning News:

Ending a long drought for Texas judicial picks, President Obama has decided to elevate federal judge Gregg Costa of Galveston to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, a White House aide said Thursday. The court hears cases from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Costa has only been a judge for 18 months.  A native of Richardson, he graduated from Dartmouth College. At the University of Texas law school, he served as editor in chief of the Texas Law Review. He clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2001 and 2002. Later, at the U.S. attorney’s office in the Houston-based Southern District of Texas, he was a lead prosecutor in the case of R. Allen Stanford, who was convicted in the second-largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
More Teachers Leave Texas Schools Than Are Hired

Maybe this is why Greg Abbott refuses to answer questions about Texas' public schools.

For the first time in Texas' history, more teachers left Texas' schools in 2011-2012 than were hired. This occurred at the same time that enrollment increased and Texas Hispanics became the largest ethnic group in Texas' public schools.

From the Houston Chronicle:

The number of first-year teachers in Texas public schools dropped more than 40 percent in just four years. Texas schools employed just shy of 15,000 first-year teachers in 2012, down from 25,395 in 2008 - despite growing enrollment and an overall increase in the number of teachers.

What's more, 2011-12 marked the first time in recent history that more Texas teachers left the profession than entered it. Texas public schools lost 35,800 teachers through attrition and only 24,871 new teachers were hired, according to Texas Education Agency data.

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Monday, December 16, 2013
Texas Navigators Successfully Implement the Affordable Care Act

Today in Dallas, GOP Chairman Darrel Issa, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is continuing his ACA witch-hunt and doing his best to scare people away from signing up for health insurance. A strong rebuttal to Issa's silliness was published in the Dallas Morning News by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In it, she writes:

Navigators and other assisters work to educate people about their new options. They’re not paid to sell insurance. Rather, they work to help people understand what financial help is available, and to learn about their choices, so they can make good decisions for themselves and their families. Navigators in Texas must complete at least 20 hours of training (including training on privacy protection and security), pass a rigorous exam, demonstrate they don’t have a conflict of interest, and participate in weekly training sessions.

Texas' elected officials are standing strong behind navigators, as well. The following elected officials have released statements in support:

Sen. Kirk Watson ** Sen. Royce West ** Rep. Lon Burnam ** Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon ** Rep. Donna Howard ** Rep. Chris Turner ** Rep. Eric Johnson ** Rep. Gene Wu ** Rep. Borris Miles

Additionally, the following statements in support of naviagors and the ACA were submitted to Congressman Issa. Perhaps Issa, along with Greg Abbott, Rick Perry, and all the other Texas Tea Party who feel compelled to engage in a permanent ACA witch-hunt, should gather more facts before they start to attack the Affordable Care Act again.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Affordable Care Act is working in Texas, despite the best efforts by Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, and Congressional Republicans that remain hell-bent on lying and denying about the positive impacts of the law. Whether it's Ted Cruz lying about Medicaid expansion, Rick Perry costing Texas $9 billion for refusing to expand Medicaid, or Greg Abbott cowardly trying to follow their lead, there appears to be no obstruction they won't embrace.

Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act is working anyway. 14,000 Texans have already signed up through the federal exchange, the second highest total in any other state. The healthcare.gov site is up and running smoothly. And now new Enrollment Assistance Centers are offering English and Spanish-language in-person assistance to individuals and families who need help navigating the website.

Please share these locations with you friends and families!

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Thursday, December 12, 2013
Top Ten Texas News Stories of 2013

In addition to the top ten worst Texans of 2013, here's a look at the top ten news stories of 2013 - all of which we were proud to work on and impact throughout the year. Help us keep up the fight in 201

  1. Tea Party Upset the IRS Makes Them Play by the Rules

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Texas Leads Nation in Healthcare.gov Sign-Ups

**Note: the original TX Tribune story reported Texas having the highest total of enrollees in the federal exchange. They have since updated their story; we've corrected ours below, as well.**

While Rick Perry and Greg Abbott are busy trying to block Texans access to healthcare, 14,000 Texans have signed up online for the federal marketplace - among the highest in the country. According to the updated Texas Tribune story Continue reading this post »

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