Friday, March 6, 2015

Legislative Update for March 6: This is when the real fun starts

Published on Mar 6, 2015
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I’m Daniel with Equality Texas and this is the legislative update for the week ending March 6, 2015, the 53rd day of the Texas legislature’s 140-day regular session.
Some pretty exciting things happened this week. On Monday Sen. Rodriguez was joined by his colleagues, Senators Elllis, Garcia, Watson, and Whitmire in filing SB 856 – historic legislation to prohibit discrimination in Employment, Housing, Public Accommodations and State Contracting on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill is a companion to legislation filed in the House by Representatives Farrar, Johnson and Chris Turner.
SB 856 joins a host of other bills addressing issues as broad as hate crimes, adoption, and surrogacy, the equal treatment of LGBT teen sweethearts by the police, standardizing the process for correcting gender markers, bullying, harassment, and marriage. There is a lot of great legislation that’s been filed so far this session and more to come.
Also this week, the Texas Association of Business officially announced their opposition to SJR 10 and HJR 55 – the Arizona-style license to discriminate legislation filed by Sen. Campbell and Rep. Villalba. This is huge news! The state’s largest pro-business voice has made an unequivocal statement that discrimination against the LGBT community is bad for business.
Speaking of business… Texas Wins launched this week with the support of Dallas Maverick’s owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Texas Wins is a coalition effort to change the hearts and minds of Texans and make the case for why we need non-discrimination protections.
It’s day 53, and this is where things really start to heat up. See, day 60, next week, contains two important deadlines: it’s the last day to file bills, and it’s the last day before most bills, those not declared priorities by the governor, can be considered on the House or Senate floor. In the lead up to that deadline we’re expecting a least a thousand new bills to be filed. Once that deadline passes we’ll start to see much more action on the House and Senate floors and in committees.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you, the people of Texas, be engaged. We have only 87 days left in the session and the next two months are crucial.
You can help by participating in Equality Texas Family Advocacy Day on March 23rd and Freedom Advocacy Day on April 13. You can help by using our Action Center to contact your lawmakers. You can help by reaching out to your friends and family and asking them to get involved.
The next two months are crucial – but they will also be fleeting. Now is the time to gather our energies and be involved. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.
Until next week, I’m Daniel Williams with Equality Texas.

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