Tonight at midnight is the deadline for the House of Representatives to pass House Bills. One would imagine that legislators would be scrambling to debate and vote on as many pieces of legislation that they can. I would be too, except for the fact that some bills on our calendar today are bad for Texas families. Instead of rushing through legislation, I am teaming up with some of my fellow Democrats to “chub” bills. Essentially, we are slowing down debate on bills as much as we can to avoid getting to bad bills by midnight.
One bill would hurt same-sex couples by taking away funding from local governments and county clerks to process such marriages in case the U.S. Supreme Court rules in their favor this summer. Another bad bill would allow greedy landlords who reject low-income tenants who attempt to use Section 8 housing vouchers as a source of income when they apply to rent for residence. Meanwhile, a dangerous bill was passed out of the House last night that restricts access to legal protection and safe abortion for vulnerable Texas teens.
A Final Fight for Community Schools
As my staff and I compile this issue of Notes & Noticias, I am preparing for a hard fight for my Community Schools bills. These bills are based on a nationally recognized model that is an alternative to schools that may be at risk.
These bills were brought to me by the nonprofit organization “Save Texas Schools.” Teacher groups, school boards, parent teacher associations, and community and business leaders have backed these bills from the beginning.
Unfortunately, these bills risk passage because with only 18 days to go, our lawmakers are more divided than ever. Many of those who initially supported my bills will vote against them tonight. Not because they suddenly believe they are bad bills, but because they are obligated to vote along party lines.
Tonight will most likely be a sad night for Texas students, their parents, their teachers and our communities.
Expanding Grocery Access
This morning, the House passed HB 1485 on a very close 71 to 66 vote. It seeks to provide grants and low interest loans to grocery store operators to open new stores or renovate existing stores in low and moderate-income areas — both urban or rural. This bill supports small businesses, boosts local economies, lowers the barrier to entry and reduces obesity rates. It is great public policy, and I hope it gains favorable consideration in the Senate. Texas families need it.