Friday, March 20, 2015

Legislative Update for March 20: It's been a good week

This week in your Legislative Update: We've been very busy at the Equality Texas office! Plus, this has been a record year for pro-LGBT legislation in Texas.
Contact your lawmakers using our ACTION CENTER.

Learn more about the legislation we're working on at the LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION CENTER.

Join us for Freedom Advocacy Day on April 13, register at https://hq-equalityfederation.salsala...


I’m Daniel with Equality Texas and this is Friday, March 20, the 67th day of the Texas Legislature’s 140 day regular session.

It’s been a busy week here at Equality Texas:

On Monday we were very proud to co-sponsor students from the Texas Gay/Straight alliance at their advocacy day at the capitol!

Several dozen LGBT and allied students from around the state came to Austin to talk to their lawmakers about how the law affects them.

On Wednesday we were proud to host another group of students and adult allies as transgender activists from the Houston area came to the capitol to talk about the potential negative effects of Rep. Pena’s HB 2801 and HB 2802, the bathroom bounty bills.

Also on Wednesday the House State Affairs Committee heard HB 537 by Rep. Rafael Anchia – his bill to ensure accurate supplementary birth certificates for adopted children with two legal moms or two legal dads. You can watch the full hearing on our YouTube channel.

It’s been a good week! This legislative session has had more pro-LGBT bills filed than any other in the history of state of Texas. While the opponents of equality have grown more isolated, more reactionary and more vocal our supporters have become more outspoken, better educated on our issues and even more vocal.

In addition to more than two dozen other pro-LGBT bills, There are 9 non-discrimination bills filed in the Legislature this session:
  • HB 70 by Mary Gonzalez would ensure that all Texas children have equal access to quality education, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression
  • HB 627 by Eric Johnson, Joint Authored by Elliott Naishtat and co-authored by Chris Turner, would empower the Texas Workforce Commission's Civil Rights Division to investigate claims of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in the same way that it investigates claims of discrimination based on a person’s race, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability. 
  • HB 1522 by Jessica Farrar would prohibit discrimination in Public Accommodation.
  • HB 2860 by Diego Bernal would prohibit discrimination in Housing.
  • HB 582 by Chris Turner would require any company benefiting from tax-payer dollars through a state contract to adopt an inclusive employment non-discrimination policy or risk losing the contract.
  • SB 856 by Jose Rodriguez, Joint-Authored by Senators Ellis, Garcia, Watson and Whitmire would prohibit discrimination in Employment, Housing, Public Accommodation and State Contracting.
  • And HB 543 by Roberto Alonzo, HB 304 by Senfronia Thompson and SB 76 by Rodney Ellis would prohibit discrimination in insurance.

That’s the most comprehensive set on non-discrimination bills, filed by the most diverse set of authors, ever, in the history of the Texas Legislature.

You can help these lawmakers by contacting your electeds and asking them to support these bills using our ACTION CENTER.

Next week, on Monday families from around the state will be in Austin for Equality Texas Family Advocacy Day – We’re expecting a big turnout and we can’t wait to see everyone who’s registered.
On Thursday the House will consider a bill to significantly reorganize 12 state agencies that provide health and human services. It’s sure to be a long day on the floor and there’s a strong possibility that some surprises that could affect the LGBT community may come up – so stay tuned and we’ll let you know.

Join us on April 13th for Freedom Advocacy day at the capitol, sign up on our website under the “events calendar” tab before the registration deadline on April 6.
Until next week, I’m Daniel Williams with Equality Texas.

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