After 12 hours of deliberation, the Texas House officially passed HB1! HB 1 now heads to the Senate for their review before the budget returns to the House. On Wednesday, I got together on the House floor with Reps. Donna Howard and Celia Israel to get their early take on the budget.
This session's budget night was definitely quieter than previous sessions in large part because the State has more money to spend. With these additional funds, we prioritized funding our public schools, mental health resources, Harvey relief, and so much more. Here's a quick recap of Democratic wins last night on the House floor:
The Texas House passed SB 500, the State's supplemental budget, last night. This bill funded a "13th check" for retired teachers, devoted $2.7 billion for Hurricane Harvey recovery and made significant investments in the Healthy Texas Women program and school safety measures.
HB1 provides a $9 billion increase for the public education ($6 billion for school districts and $3 billion for property tax relief). HB 1 also utilized $2 billion from Texas' Economic Stabilization Fund, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.
Texas House Democrats also had a successful night, as several members added amendments to the budget that will improve the lives of all Texans.
a) Rep. Jessica Gonzalez successfully led the adoption of an amendment that added $3 million to the Governor's Sex Trafficking Prevention Program. This program will make grants to counties for the implementation of sex trafficking prevention and pre-arrest diversion programs.
b) Rep. Michelle Beckley successfully led the adoption of an amendment that would require the Department of State Health Services to conduct a study to assess the vaccination coverage levels of children attending a licensed child-care facility or registered family home. This passed on a 79-67 vote.
c) Rep. Chris Turner successfully adopted an amendment directing the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to establish a transition plan for the delivery system that will succeed the DSRIP (Delivery System Reform and Incentive Payment) program from Texas' Medicaid 1115 Waiver. From the beginning of the DSRIP program, Federal health officials stated this funding would not be indefinite. By October 2021, Texas will no longer receive any DSRIP payments. It's imperative that HHSC establishes a transition plan so Texas can keep offering these services once the federal funding has ended.
Though there were disappointments last night, including the Republicans vote to increase funding to the Alternatives to Abortion HHSC program by $52 million, a program notorious for pushing anti-choice and medically inaccurate options on women, the House made bold steps in investing in public education and Harvey relief.
Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee agreed to match the House's proposal to invest $9 billion into our public schools. Originally, the Texas Senate proposed a $6 billion increase in funding, but appear to now be willing to add another $3 billion. This is big for our public schools! By investing $9 billion towards public education, the state's share of funding would rise to 42%, compared to the 38% share it is now. I'll be sure to keep you updated as more occurs during the last 60 days of session.
HD 49 Engagement Team Meetings
Quick reminder about our upcoming engagement team meetings! Mark your calendars for the different engagement team meetings that we'll be hosting in 2 weeks. Thank you to everyone who has participated so far. If you have any questions about our engagement team meetings or aren't receiving notices about the meetings, please reach out to Anthony Orona in our office.
Healthy Communities for All - Monday, April 8th at 6:15 PM
Education for All – Monday, April 8th at 7:30 PM
Democracy and Equality for All – Tuesday, April 9th at 6:30 PM
Please reach out to my staff anytime or call the office at 512-463-0668 if you have any follow-up questions or comments.