Ed. note: thanks to Senator Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) for writing this op-ed for our site, and for her vote against the state budget.
Last Tuesday, I cast the lone “no-vote” on the Senate’s $211 billion version of the state budget. I did this because we desperately need to invest in the future of our state and, even though we have the money to do so, this budget instead kicks the can down the road.
With less than 50 days left to pass bills in the Texas Legislature, the real action is about to begin. With so much going on, the following is a quick update on some of the progressive issues we work on most, and how things are shaping up for them at the Capitol.
Tax Day has come and gone, and for most Texans, that means you know you’ve paid your fair share of taxes. That is, unless you’re Governor Greg Abbott. The Dallas Morning News reports Gov. Abbott made $134,000 last year, but only paid $104 in federal income taxes.
Apparently passing the most draconian anti-abortion law in the country last session wasn’t enough. Anti-abortion radicals in the Texas Legislature were back at it this week, trying to pass laws that would further restrict access to abortion care. The anti-abortion bills heard this week make one thing absolutely clear: these extremists aren’t going to stop until they’ve eliminated access to safe, legal abortion care for all Texas women.
Two years after the explosion at a West fertilizer plant killed 15 Texans and drove hundreds out of their homes, the Texas Legislature has done nothing to prevent future disasters.
And unless legislation to increase public safety starts moving quickly, any chance for reform may die by the time the Legislature leaves town in just under 50 days.
Indiana, which recently signed into law discriminatory Religious Freedom legislation, was taken to task by Jon Stewart this week, as the Daily Show host laid out exactly what happens when these types of bills are passed.
Late last night, the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard testimony from over 60 witnesses on marijuana policy reform bills - all focused on reducing criminal penalties from a felony to a ticket for small possession of marijuana.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz who recently announced that he would be running for President in 2016 has already raised $31 million through four super PACs, and that’s terrifying.
Since the 2010 ruling on Citizens United that gave individuals unlimited spending power in presidential races, we’ve seen political candidates rake in cash from big industry donors like the Koch brothers at alarming rates. But never have we seen anything like what Cruz has raised in the last week.