Air Quality/Climate Change: LWV-TX supports HB 3413, relating to the Texas natural gas vehicle grant program, including the funding of fueling stations from grants under that program.
Also support SB 26, relating to the Texas emissions reduction plan and other related programs and measures to reduce emissions.
Behavioral Health: The Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, John Zerwas, has indicated a willingness to use part of the “rainy day fund” (Economic Stabilization Fund) to meet the funding needs of the state for the next biennium. LWV-TX supports SB 74, which would allow a provider in a managed care organization that contracts with the Health and Human Services Commission to provide behavioral health services may contract with the organization to provide targeted management and psychiatric rehab services to children and their families.
Child Health: We have signed on in support of the Coalition's Legislative agenda which you can read about here: 2017 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA CHILDREN'S HEALTH COVERAGE COALITION.
Early Childhood: We are urging legislators to provide $236 million to fully fund the high-quality pre-k grant program established in 2015. Meanwhile, in both the House and Senate, the additional pre-k dollars fall short of the amount needed to maintain the annual funding level provided to schools through the grant program.
Drug Laws and Policies: LWV-TX supports SB269, HB 2109 and SB 170.
ACTION! Support HB 81 to reduce penalties for possession of marijuana. A hearing by the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee for HB 81 will most likely be scheduled by March 14, 2017.
Financing State Government: The Budget and Taxes: The most amazing event of this month was the unanimous passage of HB 21 by Huberty out of the Public Education Committee, which raises public education funding by $1.6B, covering a portion of the cost from the Rainy Day Fund, which we have encouraged both the House and the Senate to use.
Land Use: LWV-TX opposes HB 1135 and SB 1385, which would require local governments to acquire conservation easements to offset impervious cover regulations.
LWV-TX supports HB 3036 which restricts permits authorizing direct discharge of waste or pollutants into water leading to the Edwards Aquifer.
“No Land-No Water” is the reminder from the Texas Agricultural Land Trust. Share this editorial with your legislators with the message, “Conserving and managing Texas rural lands today means more water for all of us in the future.”
Transportation: Some potentially important transportation bills were filed this week, including a bill for a constitutional amendment! SJR 48 would call for an election on November 7, 2017 that would permit additional uses of certain dedicated general revenue transferred each fiscal year to the state highway fund.
Other issues we are following...
Child Abuse and Neglect
Equal Opportunity/Income Assistance
Payday & Auto Title Loans in Texas