Updated: 3/28/19, Charlie Bonner
Update On The #txlege Budget
Members of the Texas House of Representatives have officially approved the state’s budget and prioritized the use of $251 billion in state and federal funding through 2021, as of just after midnight on Thursday morning. Compared to previous years, it was a relatively quiet evening with several of the potential fights falling by the wayside.
Many of the proposed amendments were moved to Article XI of the budget, the wish list section. This allows amendments to still technically be considered down the road upon bill passage and avoids them being voted down outright.
Even though it was quiet, there are some big takeaways for Texas progressives:
Paving the Way for Equal Pay
Rep. Rhetta Bowers (D- HD 113) gave us something to celebrate with the passage of an amendment calling for a study of gender pay disparities for workers in state agencies. We know that women deserve equal pay for equal work, but far too many are compensated at a fraction of the rate as their male counterparts. Bowers’ study will shine a light on this critical disparity and pave the way for equal pay in state agencies.
Funding Lies into Law
Conservatives shamefully increased funding for the “alternatives to abortion” program to the tune of $90 million, a program that has no proven results and absolutely no oversite. We need to invest in what works, and that means trusting women to make decisions about their health care with medical professionals, not religious non-profits masquerading in prenatal care. We need to invest in real solutions for strong Texas families, INCLUDING ABORTION ACCESS.
Health Care is a Right
Conservatives lawmakers blocked passage of Rep. John Bucy’s (D- HB 136) Medicaid expansion amendment that would expand health care access to millions of Texans. It’s time for Texas to join 36 other states in expanding Medicaid coverage and mend the gap in coverage. Republicans voted against the interest of Texans and refused to even debate the issue. Health care is a right, and Texans are long overdue for expanding access to affordable care.
Originally posted: 3/27/19, Sam Robles
Today, the Texas Legislature tackles creating the state’s budget and prioritizes the use of $251 billion in state and federal funding through 2021.
The only requirement of state lawmakers for the entire session is passing the state’s budget. This process starts at 10 a.m. and will last through the night. Legislators are making key decisions about our taxpayer money often times until 5 a.m. the next day.
Tonight lawmakers will be going over 300 amendments, and then some, to craft a budget that addresses the needs of all Texans.
Progress Texas will be keeping an eye on developments. Follow us on Twitter @ProgressTX.
Here’s What We Expect:
Access to Affordable Health Care
State Rep. John Bucy’s amendment will allow Texas to pursue Medicaid expansion and relieving thousands of Texans by providing access to health care.
State Representative Donna Howard’s amendment on alternatives to abortion funding puts Texan’s health over politics by clarifying the responsibilities of our state’s health agency to provide proper oversight and accountability to programs and contracts that do not provide accurate abortion or health care information.
Funding Public Education
State Representative Jessica Gonzalez’s amendment that focuses on funding public schools and stops funding to unaccountable charter schools.
State Representative Roland Gutierrez’s amendment reallocates money from misguided border funding to funding Texas public education.
Stand Up For Working Texans
State Representative Rhetta Bowers’ amendment mandates an equal pay for equal work study in state agencies.
The Texas Enterprise amendment to ensure that the jobs created through this program pay $15 an hour or more.
Every Person Counts
State Representative Cesar Blanco’s amendment ensures that census outreach efforts are funded to ensure that every Texan is counted for full representation for all levels of government and federal funding.
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