This week in your Legislative Update: With just 45 days to go a lot of things are happening at once: Birth Certificates, Homeless Youth, Transgender Bounties and Indiana-style Religious Liberty bills are just the highlights of this week's update.
Watch the latest Legislative Update:
Tell your lawmakers to support accurate birth certificates for all Texas children at bit.ly/1wZtsJE
Tell your State Senator to support homeless youth at bit.ly/1DF4Qre
Tell the members of the House State Affairs Committee to oppose HB 2801 and protect Trans students at bit.ly/1DoRTjO
Learn more about the legislation we're working on at the LEGISLATIVE INFORMATION CENTER.
Thank you for your support! Together, we are Building a State of Equality in Texas.
Daniel with Equality Texas and this is the Legislative Update for
Friday, April 17th, the 95th day of the Texas Legislature’s 140 day
We’re getting towards the end of session with only 45 days left and this is when things get really busy!
Monday, hundreds of Texans from around the state came to Austin for
Freedom Advocacy Day! Many thanks to our partners at Texas Freedom
network, GALA North Texas and HRC for making Freedom day such a success!
Tuesday the Senate passed HB 1, which creates the budget for the state
of Texas for the next two years. When the bill was in the house an
amendment reduced funding for HIV/STD prevention programs by 3 million
dollars, the Senate version of the bill put the money back.
Wednesday, Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas gave an impassioned speech on
the House floor about the need to equalize access to supplementary birth
certificates for Texas kids with two moms or two dads. (check out the
update from March 20th for more information on the bill). Following the
speech, the chair of the powerful House State Affairs Committee, Byron
Cook, expressed his support for the bill on the floor. That’s a major
step forward for Anchia’s legislation and we’re hopeful it’s going to
mean the bill will soon move.
Also on Wednesday we braced for two
hearings on anti-LGBT bills. One, HB 3864 by Sanford, was heard in the
House Juvenile Justice and Family Matters Committee. The bill creates an
Indiana-style license to discriminate for child welfare service
providers. Dozens of organizations representing child welfare
professionals expressed their concerns about HB 3864 to the committee
including the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Social
Workers, Texans Cares for Children and CASA of Texas. The bill is
currently pending in committee and could advance. We’ll be watching this
The other anti-LGBT bill we were prepared to fight
in committee on Wednesday, HB 2801 by Pena, was pulled from
consideration in the State Affairs Committee. HB 2801 encourages the
harassment and bullying of transgender youth in our schools. The bill
forces school districts to assume student’s biological sex and restrict
access to gender-segregated spaces based on that assumption. Transgender
students without supportive parents are without recourse under HB 2801.
Non-transgender students may receive up to a $2000 bounty for reporting
transgender students to the school district.
85% of Texas’
transgender students currently experience harassment at school. HB 2801
places a bounty on those students, creating state-sponsored bullying.
Fortunately the bill was not heard on Wednesday, but capitol scuttlebutt
is that it will likely be back next Wednesday. You can contact the
members of the State Affairs Committee in opposition to HB 2801 using
our ACTION CENTER, we’ll put the link in the show notes.
the House passed HB 679. The bill would conduct a study of homeless
youth in Texas, seeking information on the scope of the problem and
potential untapped funding sources. Up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBT
and this legislation would go a long way towards assisting this
vulnerable population. The bill is now headed to the Senate. You can use
our ACTION CENTER to contact your state Senator in support of the bill,
we’ll put the link in the notes.
Next week: The House will likely
choose not to accept the Senate’s changes to HB 1, the state budget,
sending the bill into a conference committee composed of members of both
chambers to hash out a compromise. It’s that conference committee that
will set the final budget for HIV/STD prevention programs.
the bathroom bounty bill, will likely be back in the House State Affairs
Committee on Wednesday. We’re also hopeful that the State Affairs
Committee will vote on HB 537, Rep. Anchia’s Supplementary Birth
Certificate bill. You can contact your state rep in support of the bill
using our ACTION CENTER (We’ll also put that link in the notes)