Co-author - A legislator authorized by the primary author of a bill or resolution to join in the authorship of the measure. A coauthor must be a member of the chamber in which the bill was filed.
This session I co-authored 70 bills that helped with public education, public health, and our power grid.
87th Legislative Session
The 87th session was filled with several highs and lows to say the least. The violent insurrection that occurred in Washington, D.C. and at multiple state capitols, COVID-19 pandemic, winter storm Uri, mass shootings, and Black Lives Matter movements all caused polarization and division felt at the state and federal levels. In the midst of all this, our legislature was able to come together and pass important legislation for Texans.
Women's Health programs were appropriated $353.65 million in SB 1.
HB 133 expanded Medicaid coverage for new mothers to six months.
HB 428 added more testing and screening for ovarian cancer.
SB 827 provides protection from soaring out of pocket costs for insulin by capping out of pocket costs to $25 for a 30 day supply.
Additionally during the 87th session, in our continued fight for Texas families we passed HB 3009.
HB 3009 allows for child custody evaluators to make a decision in the interest of the child by ensuring they effectively evaluate families in child custody litigation.
HB 3009 provides Non-English speaking families the right to effectively communicate with their evaluators in parental litigation cases through certified interpreters.
First Special Session:
During the first special session several House Democrats chose to break quorum in an effort to stop harmful legislation from passing that would negatively impact Texas voters, people of color, and people with disabilities. By breaking quorum, House Democrats removed 50% of the House Representatives in the Capitol and put a necessary pause on the Legislature.
While in our nation's capital, my colleagues and I attended meetings with Congressional leaders and met with Vice President Kamala Harris to discuss the importance of federal legislation for voting rights. The For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (JLVRAA- HR 4) would require all states to offer same-day voter registration for federal elections, remove dark money from campaigns, and provide needed campaign ethics reforms. Passage of this legislation is important to ensure the equitable opportunity for every citizen to vote.
Federal efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives became focused on the protection of voting rights which led to the passing of the JLVRAA. This bill currently remains pending in the US Senate. Contact your senators and ask them to protect your voting rights by passing the Freedom to Vote and JLVRA Acts here.
Second Special Session:
During the Second Special Session:
House Democrats stayed strong in their quorum break and rallied for the passage of the JLVRAA (HR 4) which ended up passing the U.S. House.
The 13th check for retired teachers which grants a supplemental payment in retirement for Texas educators. (SB 7)
Increased funding to address provider capacity in the foster care system. (HB 5)
House Democrats were able to negotiate and mitigate some of the harmful provisions in the voter suppression bill SB 1. These include:
Removing the provided notification for how felony convictions impact the right to vote for adults and juveniles.
Establish that a person may not be convicted of illegal voting solely because they signed a provisional ballot affidavit unless corroborated by other evidence that they knowingly committed the offense.
Make it easier to remove bad poll watchers from the polling location by removing the need to give a warning before the removal of a poll watcher.
Require individuals wishing to serve as poll watchers to complete an online training course developed by the Secretary of State.
Expanded Early Voting hours from 9 pm to 10 pm.
House Democrats assured that these harmful bills did NOT pass the House in the 2nd Special Session:
o Municipal Preemption (SB 14)
o Bail Constitutional Amendment (SJR 3)
o Quorum Rule Changes (HR 96)
Third Special Session:
During the Third Special Session, our legislature was able to pass the following pieces of legislation:
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA-SB 8) fund allocation assured $378.3 million worth in grants was provided to critical staffing needs that arose from frontline healthcare workers affected by COVID-19. Nursing facilities, home health agencies, and community attendant services are eligible to receive these grants.
o $237.8 million for construction of Dallas State Hospital
o $20 million to provide funding for the establishment of a consolidated Internet portal for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) medical services provider data.
o $2 billion for surge staffing at state and local hospitals, long term care facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and nursing facilities.
o $286.3 million for Covid-19 related claims in Teacher Retirement System (TRS)-Care and TRS-Active Care.
Redistricting happened at this time. The maps produced from redistricting are currently being litigated at the state and federal levels for violating section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as well as the 14th and 15th amendments of the Constitution. Racial discrimination is is believed to have taken place during redistricting. Litigation’s outcome is yet to be determined.