February 23, 2013

Sign our petition to invest in our kids today! - and once you have, see all 55 signs on our Facebook page!

Thousands of parents, students, teachers and activists gathered at the Texas Capitol on Saturday to demand a greater investment in public schools, an end to high-stakes testing, and a full rejection of school vouchers. One of the most fun parts of going to the rallies is checking out the creative home-made signs.

Here are some of our favorites - and check out all the others on our Facebook page.

"Flunk Perry" - See all 55 signs on our Facebook page!

February 21, 2013

Thank you, Senator Davis.

In January, State Senator Wendy Davis filed SB 248, a bill that would bring the Lilly Ledbetter Act to Texas.

Yesterday at the state legislature’s economic development committee, supporters testified on behalf of the bill. According to RH Reality Check:

Sponsoring Sen. Wendy Davis said her bill would allow Texans to file pay discrimination complaints in state court—a more affordable option than doing so in federal court—and, most importantly, allow them to do so within 180 days of their discovery of any alleged unequal compensation, rather than 180 days from the initial occurrence of the compensation.

February 19, 2013

A new statewide poll released today by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund shows broad support in Texas for state-funded family planning services and women's access to birth control. According to the poll, majorities also oppose the deep funding cuts made by state lawmakers to family planning programs in 2011, and they oppose allowing bosses to deny their workers health care coverage for birth control.

Some keys numbers from the poll:

How important is it to you that Texas women have access to family planning and birth control, regardless of income? (Numbers are rounded.)

Extremely/Very             68%

Little/Not at all              30%

Do you favor or oppose providing state-funded family planning services, including birth control, for low-income women? (Numbers are rounded.)

Strongly/Somewhat favor         73%

Somewhat/strongly oppose      25%

You might be surprised who supports state funding for birth control for low-income women in Texas.

77% of Hispanics

69% of Republican women

70% of Catholics

85% of young people

66% of born-again Christians

Hispanic Texans support birth control.

79% favor making it accessible to all women

77% support state funding to make it accessible

63% oppose the 2011 state cuts to family planning budgets

70% oppose excluding birth control from insurance coverage

February 18, 2013

Support for expanding Medicaid in Texas and across the country is gaining momentum. And momentum is on our side!

In recent weeks, Republican governors in New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio and Michigan have all ended their partisan opposition to Medicaid expansion - a key provision in President Obama's historic Affordable Care Act legislation.

Can Texas be next? Absolutely, but we need your support and action to make it possible.

Sign this petition and tell your Texas legislator right now that Texas and its residents need Medicaid expansion! Call on their public support to expand Medicaid today.

February 15, 2013

In an unprecedented move Thursday, the Senate filibustered the confirmation vote on Chuck Hagel appointment to Secretary of Defense. The confirmation was put to a cloture and failed, falling just one vote short of breaking the filibuster.  According to the GOP though, the move is not a filibuster. This narrative follows the completely delusional trajectory that is rapidly becoming the state of the Republican party.

February 13, 2013

In a very valiant effort to bring equality to Texas, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen) filed SB 480 yesterday. SB 480 is, essentially, a legislative effort to legalize civil unions in our state. 

Yesterday, Equality Texas summarized the importance and effect of the bill:

"If enacted, SB 480 would provide some important legal protections for same-gender couples, including property rights, homestead rights, child custody and support, adoption, intestate succession, probate transfers, group insurance for state employees, and workers’ compensation benefits."

February 12, 2013

To engage women voters, the left has threw around phrases like “War on Women,” “the attack on women,” and even “Rick Perry Hates Women.” This rhetoric had every conservative fauxminist coming out pledging that the GOP respected and protected women despite an overwhelming of anti-choice and anti-marriage equality legislation.

Admittedly, it did seem a bit farcical and, obviously, sensational to accuse an entire political party of hating women. Women are in the GOP. Such as defender of civil rights Jan Brewer of Arizona, media darling Sarah Palin formerly of Fox News, legal genius Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico and Queen of Rage Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. 

Nonetheless, blocking the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is incredibly damning.

February 12, 2013

Yesterday, the Pentagon announced that it would begin extending benefits to gay and lesbian service members and their families. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised yesterday's announcement but said the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) still prevents gay and lesbian military families from enjoying full equality:

"Today, the Pentagon took a historic step forward toward righting the wrong of inequality in our armed forces, but there is still more work to be done. Gay and lesbian service members and their families make sacrifices every day, and this country owes them every measure of support we can provide. Since the repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,’ the Obama administration has shown true leadership on this issue. But even today, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act makes inequality for gay and lesbian military families a legal requirement.

It's time to right this wrong. When the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of DOMA in the coming weeks, they should take note of the real harm this law inflicts every day. The Court should reflect on the sacrifice made by Americans like Staff Sergeant Tracy Johnson, whose wife was killed in action late last year, or the family of Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, who succumbed to cancer earlier this week. In both cases, DOMA barred specific benefits that could soften the tragic blow of the loss of a loved one. The Court should strike down this hateful law once and for all so that this country can finally guarantee full equality for all who serve."

February 12, 2013

The Lone Star Project has released a 30-second radio ad in California informing businesses that they are welcome to move to Texas, but they should "check the fine print" on Rick Perry's promises:

Hello, California, this is Texas...It looks like Rick Perry got out again. Governor Oops is runnin around selling snake oil -- talking about big tax breaks if you move your business to Texas. Check the fine print. About the only people who get those breaks are the ones who hand him big campaign cash. So come to Texas. You'll love it, just like we do. But don't count on Rick Perry's promises...We sure don't.

February 12, 2013

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) slammed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during an Senate Armed Services Committee meeting today saying he had "gone over the line." During a hearing on Chuck Hagel’s Defense Secretary nomination, Cruz objected to moving forward on the nomination and made wild and strange accusations that Hagel might have received money directly from countries like North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Of course, Cruz provided no evidence for his wild claims.

February 7, 2013

2/12 Update - the Dallas County officials and El Paso County officials are urging Medicaid expansion as well.

Despite Governor Rick Perry’s irresponsible insistence that Texas, the state with the highest uninsured rate (over 25%) in all of America, will not be accepting the Medicaid expansion funds provided by the federal government, it is becoming more and more apparent that the most Texans do not agree (a majority of Texans think we should accept the funds). This includes not only individuals whom would be helped by these funds, but also organizations, local, government, and medical professionals. In fact, the Texas Medical Association (TMA) came out the other day saying that Texas should take the funds, realizing that Medicaid is already strained beyond capacity in Texas and that accepting the funds still allows room for flexibility and possible reform.

This slow warming to the idea of accepting the funds is being seen all over the country. Many of the states with governors that were vocal in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act have conceded that the Medicaid expansion is an opportunity that their states cannot pass up. Among these is Tea Party queen, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. Following in her footsteps are the Republican governors of New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, and most recently, Ohio and Michigan. In other red states, people and organizations are coming forward in droves, pushing for Medicaid expansion. Joan Alker, a researcher with the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute conducted a multi-year study of Florida’s Medicaid program, says that, “It will literally save lives if you do the Medicaid expansion.” Another panel in Louisiana, the Louisiana Budget Panel, has also put forward arguments for the state to accept the funds. “Health reform is needed in Medicaid because one in four non-elderly adults in Louisiana is uninsured,” said Steve Spires of the panel.

February 5, 2013

In a ground breaking decision yesterday, state district Judge John Dietz ruled in favor of more than 600 school districts that had sued the state over the system it uses to pay for public education. Dietz's ruling says that the property tax system that Texas uses to pay for education is unconstitutional under the state constitution. During the 2011 Texas legislative session, lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from public education. In response, more than 600 school districts filed claims against the legality of the school finance system. Dietz ruled in favor of all of their major claims.

February 4, 2013

The Texas Legislature is one month old, and already we're hearing excuses about why conservatives don't want to meet the needs of our state. We know the truth: to secure a strong economy we must invest in our future. Supporting public infrastructure - like a strong education system and quality health care for our seniors and children - protects opportunities for future generations by recognizing that what we can achieve together is far greater than what we could ever do alone. As progressives in a conservative state like Texas, we need to blow the roof off our imaginations and dream big for our children - and follow up our dreams with action. 

We witnessed the power of your action on the first day of the Texas Legislature, when announced candidate for Lieutenant Governor and current Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and the School Land Board buckled to pressure from Progress Texas members and released $300 million for Texas school children. Patterson - who initially called all of us "slacktivists" and told Texas legislators he'd never yield to pressure - was forced to relent thanks to the action you and 5,225 of our members took, refusing to let Patterson hoard $300 million from public schools. Our win in this campaign is a perfect example of how your actions have terrific consequences, but only if we're willing to work together and fight for change.

Below is an overview of other actions we're asking our membership to take, along with how much Progress Texas grew in 2012 and a look at our organization in the news. As always, we thank you for your continued support, and look forward to working with you more in the coming weeks and months.{C}

February 4, 2013


Ted Cruz was one of only 8 Senators today who voted not to consider the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a bill that protects victims of domestic violence.

The other Senators who voted against moving to debate on the bill were: Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID).

Think Progress explains the absurd opposition to reauthorizing the VAWA:

VAWA’s reauthorization has been caught up in partisan gridlock over added provisions that would protect undocumented immigrants, as well as LGBT and Native American victims of domestic violence. Congress failed to reauthorize the bill by the end of 2012, and the Senate is now considering the same legislation again, in its new legislative session.

January 31, 2013

Earlier today, State Sen. Kirk Watson filed Senate Joint Resolution 24 (SJR 24) that calls for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the diversion of statutorily dedicated revenue. SJR 24 would end the state's deceptive, long-standing practice of diverting money away from the necessities it’s meant for and using it for other, less transparent purposes.

Senator Watson's office released the following statement regarding SJR 24:

“We must end the debt, diversions and deception that have played too great a role in Texas’ budget process for too long,” Senator Watson said. “This amendment will move Texas away from the deceptive practice of collecting money for one popular purpose and using it for something else. And my legislation will do it in a responsible way that recognizes Texans’ short-term budget needs as well as the legal issues that have made this such a confounding issue.”
“I deeply love Texas. And I believe Texas can do better – much better – in showing taxpayers how the state is spending their money,” Senator Watson said. “Texas is facing a deep honesty deficit right now. It’s created a big hole in the budget – one so big that a responsible, candid solution won't work if it attempts to solve it overnight. But it’s well past time to come up with a plan for ending diversions and taking steps to do so. SJR 24 does both.”

January 29, 2013

Today, Governor Rick Perry gives his 7th State of the State address. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to catch up on what is going on in the Texas Legislature, brief you on the latest news on the major issues, and point you towards resources where you can learn more. Hopefully, this will give you a better starting point for learning about some of the major issues facing the 83rd Texas Legislature.

If there is an issue area you would like to learn more about, or more information on the topics below you believe should be included, please do not hesitate to e-mail me and let me know. You can reach me at, or leave a comment below.

Below you will find information on the following topics - clicking on the links take you straight to that issue:

  1. Budget & Taxes: Investing in Our Future
  2. Expanding Medicaid: 231,000 Jobs by 2016
  3. The Battle to Save Public Schools
  4. Family Planning Cuts Run Deep
  5. Water for a Rainy Day
  6. LGBT & the Fight for Equality
  7. The Voting Rights Act Still Matters

January 26, 2013

A New Mexico legislator is attempting to legally redefine a fetus as a piece of evidence.

On Wednesday, Republican (surprise!) state Representative Cathrynn Brown (actually, a surprise) introduced House Bill 206 that would “legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial,” according to the Huffington Post.

The bill essentially says that any women who wish to abort pregnancies resulting from rape could be prosecuted for tampering with evidence. Prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to possibly three years in prison.

Interestingly, Brown released a press statement saying that the intent of the bill was misinterpreted because of the specific language used. Citing drafting errors and language problems, Brown promised to review the bill for more clarity.

In her statement, Brown said that "House Bill 206 was never intended to punish or criminalize rape victims,” Brown said. “Its intent is solely to deter rape and cases of incest. The rapist — not the victim — would be charged with tampering of evidence."

January 25, 2013

On Wednesday, January 23, Republican State Representative Bill Zedler filed House Bill 650 - a birther bill. The legislation would require any candidate for President or Vice-President to submit his or her birth certificate to the Texas Secretary of State in order to be allowed on the ballot. The application to be on the ballot, including the birth certificate, would be matters of public record.

Progress Texas has called on Rep. Zedler to withdraw the bill immediately - and if he should choose not to, for Texas House Speaker Joe Straus to refuse to refer the legislation to a committee, unless Speaker Straus believes there’s merit in spending lawmaker’s time and taxpayer dollars on a fringe debate that does nothing to improve our public schools, expand our health care, or invest in the future of Texas.

The petition reads:

I am asking you to withdraw House Bill 650, the birther bill you have filed. The people of Texas are embarrassed by your actions. You may be one of the last 15 people on the planet (more or less) who thinks President Obama was not born in America.

The manufactured birther controversy was an obvious attempt by extreme Tea Party members to undermine our first African-American president - and by Donald Trump to remain relevant.

January 22, 2013


In case you missed it last Sunday, Senator Ted Cruz was on Meet The Press. In just 20 minutes, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) declared on national TV the following:

1) That the "gun show loophole" does not exist:

“You know, there actually isn’t the so-called “Gun Show Loophole.” That doesn’t exist. Any licensed firearm dealer who sells at a gun show has to have a background check. It’s a requirement that applies to every licensed firearm dealer. What it doesn’t apply to is personal sales one-on-one. And that’s true whether it’s at a gun show or not.”

3) When asked directly if the disgusting and factually incorrect NRA ad attacking President Obama's children was "over the line" he refused to answer:

"I am going to let people decide to run whatever ads they want."

3) Claimed that the President and other politicians exploited the Sandy Hook massacre:

“What I don’t think is constructive is what the President is doing right now. Which is within minutes of that horrible tragedy in Newtown, the President began trying to exploit that tragedy to push a gun control agenda that is designed to appeal to partisans – designed to appeal to his political partisans."

4) Slammed General Colin Powell for speaking his mind about the current racial problems within the GOP.

"I was disappointed with his comments. I think he was buying into some the partisan attacks."


January 17, 2013

On Tuesday, New York became the first state since the Newtown shooting to pass significant common sense gun violence legislation. But don't worry New Yorkers, there's a place where you can keep your AK-47 next to your bed without dealing with pesky things like universal background checks. Where is this magical land? Texas, of course.

At least that's what Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is telling New York residents with his new ad campaign. 

Abbott Gun Ad

That's right Texans, you are all gun owners even if you didn't know it.


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