March 25, 2019/Blog, Media

Texas Legislature Budget Live Blog

Our live blog of the 86th Texas Legislature budget debate.


Update: Thursday, March 28 at 10:06AM

HB 1 has finally passed and is heading to the Senate. Word around the building is the Senate is aiming to meet on their own version of the budget around the first or second week of April. Thanks for keeping up with our first ever budget debate live blog! To keep up with the rest of the Party’s legislative program, join the Texas Legislative Activists team today!

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Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 10:36PM

Republicans are discussing rolling remaining amendments into Article XI in one quick move that will end the night and silence the voice of Texans.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 9:53PM

Rep. Gina Calanni (D-Katy) killed an anti-LGBT amendment that would have banned trans-identifying TDCJ inmates from pursuing elective surgeries.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 8:37PM


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 8:25PM

Rep. Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) have filed a point of order against Rep. Richard Pena Raymond’s amendment that would guarantee teachers, librarians, counselors, and full-time nurses a meaningful pay increase. We are currently awaiting a ruling from the chair.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 8:12PM

Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) authored an amendment that would increase thorough reporting and data collection from open-enrollment charter schools; moved to Article XI.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 7:07PM

Yet Again, Texas Republicans Refuse to Pursue Common-Sense Medicaid Expansion

Texas Republicans Once Again Choose to Deny 1.1 Million Texans The Right to Health Care Coverage, Including Over 600,000 Children

The Texas Republican Party rejected an amendment filed by Rep. John Bucy III that would give Texas the opportunity to pursue common-sense Medicaid Expansion, legislation that would allow over 1.1 million more Texans the right to health care coverage, including over 600,000 children.

Texas is currently ranked dead last in health care coverage and has the highest uninsured rate in the country. Nearly 4.3 million Texans are uninsured. Additionally, Texas loses nearly $100 Billion per year in federal funds to states like California and New York by refusing to expand Medicaid.

Despite these deadly statistics and lost revenue, Texas Republican legislators refuse to support this long-overdue, common-sense Medicaid Expansion legislation.

Texas House Representative John Bucy III issued the following statement:

“Expanding Medicaid is something we can do right now that would fundamentally transform the lives of our fellow Texans and their families. It’s time to bring our tax dollars back to Texas, stop leaving billions of dollars in federal funding on the table, and ensure every person is able to access the healthcare they need.”

Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Abhi Rahman issued the following statement:

“Texas’ healthcare system continues to deteriorate while Republicans play politics with Texan’s healthcare. Lives are on the line. Ranking dead last in health-care coverage, Texas is in dire need of Medicaid expansion immediately.

“Our children and low-income families can’t wait any longer. Texas Democrats believe healthcare is a fundamental human right for all Texans, not a privilege reserved just for those able to afford it.

“We applaud Representative Bucy for his leadership and willingness to fundamentally revolutionize the lives of everyday Texans.”


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 6:37PM

Texas is the uninsured capital of the nation. There are more people without coverage than anywhere in the nation. Too many people from marginalized communities suffer health outcomes worse than people of other states. Rural Texans have difficulty finding access to quality, affordable health care. We’re thankful for Representative Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton) for passing an amendment ensuring that Texas doesn’t cut services as cost-saving measures.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 6:07PM

We don’t need to fund fraudulent crisis pregnancy centers. We need real solutions to help families. We need to fully fund our schools, expand access to healthcare, and reduce prescription drug prices.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 5:41PM

Texas Republicans Massacring Smart Solutions for Texas Families

AUSTIN, TX — Today, the Texas House of Representatives are currently debating the Texas budget for the 2020-2021 biennium. During the debate, a curious but undeniable trend began to emerge: Texas Republicans putting politics over policies and killing smart, common-sense solutions offered by Texas Democrats, particularly Democratic freshmen in seats flipped in 2018.

Rep. Terry Meza (D-Irving) authored two amendments that would limit Texas Enterprise Funds only for businesses that paid their workers a living wage, and only give funds to companies that didn’t outsource jobs.

Rep. Gina Calanni (D-Katy) authored an amendment that would conduct a study of our failed CPS system, and the workload of caseworkers.

Texas Republicans also refused to consider Rep. Cesar Blanco’s (D-El Paso) amendment that would have allowed for local government and nonprofit organization reimbursements for “public safety, medical care, shelter, transportation, and nourishment” provided to unaccompanied minors and their families at the border.

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia issued the following statement:

“Our Democratic lawmakers are fulfilling the promise they made on the campaign trail and offering smart solutions for their constituents at home and for all Texas families.

“We’ve seen Republicans use political games and procedural tricks to avoid taking votes — for no good reason. We get Republicans are scared, but dodging votes isn’t going to save them.

“The people of Texas made their voice loud and clear in November, they want a state government that fights for strong neighborhood schools, higher incomes for working families, quality healthcare, and an economy that works for everyone.”



Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 5:11PM

Texas Republicans are trying to push through their massive appropriation increase to anti-abortion programs within the budget.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 4:54PM

On a vote of 79 Yeas, 67 Nays, 2 Present, not voting, Rep. Michelle Beckley’s (D-Denton) amendment that would require a Department of State Health Services study of vaccination rates at day cares and group homes.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 4:37PM


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 4:30PM


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 4:03PM

Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) and Speaker Bonnen (R-Angleton) teamed up on a point of order that killed Rep. Blanco’s amendment to appropriate $6M to local nonprofits and local governments for humanitarian aid for undocumented children.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 3:38PM

Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Denton) passed a contingency rider that funds Same Day Voter Registration if her bill, HB 1200, passes.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 3:18PM

Texas Republicans also refused to consider Rep. Cesar Blanco’s (D-El Paso) amendment that would have allowed for local government and nonprofit organization reimbursements for “public safety, medical care, shelter, transportation, and nourishment” provided to unaccompanied minors and their families.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 1:27PM

Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville) authored an amendment that would study pay and benefits for local police officers across the state, with the hope that, in future sessions, the legislature will increase the minimum wage for police officers. It was moved to Article XI.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 12:49PM

Rep. Rhetta Bowers’ amendment on an equal pay study is being laid out. Texas is one of 8 states that do not have equal pay laws on the books. Rep. Bowers is now yielding for questions. Rep. Bowers’ amendment was adopted and moved to Article XI.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 12:31PM


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 12:14PM

Now, we move to Article III. Article III covers everything related to education in Texas.

From public school funding to higher education institutions, to retired teacher health care, Article III covers lots of ground.
The Article III subcommittee is one of the most sought after committee assignments a House member can be appointed to.
Dr. Bonnen has wrapped his Article III summary, so now Rep. Cecil Bell is leading the discussion on Articles VI, VII, & VIII
Rep. Bell is laying out on behalf of Subcommittee Chair Rep. Toni Rose, (D-Dallas)

Subcommittee summary has concluded. Rep. Zerwas is now being recognized to answer general questions about the budget bill.
Rep. Chris Turner, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, is now being recognized to ask questions of Rep. Zerwas.
He’s asking about public school funding and how it relates to HB 3 and HB 1.

Rep. Turner is the elected chair of the Texas House Democratic Caucus. The Caucus Chair is elected every session by House Democrats. The Texas House Democratic Caucus is an official caucus of the Texas House of Representatives. As Democrats, we celebrate our diversity, defend the rights of every Texan, and ensure every child has the opportunities they need to succeed.

Republicans say that, with this budget, the state share of public education is at 42-43%. Says state funding at 50% is not possible due to revenue challenges. Representative Turner is now talking about the Medicaid program shortfalls and caseloads. Rep. Turner is now discussing higher education, Article III, and the Texas Grants program.

One thing to mention, the supplemental spending bill (SB 500) is meant to address funding shortfalls. Rep. Turner is now asking questions about border security funding.

Rep. Turner makes the point, in wrapping up his questions, that while we are able to fund many priorities for the first time in a long time due to revenue increases, we still are not in a position where the state can pay 50% of the public school funding costs.

Questions appear to be wrapping up. The amendment process is just about to begin. There have been 307 amendments to the budget that were pre-filed on Sunday morning.


Update: Wednesday, March 27 at 11:46AM

The Texas Constitution only requires the Texas Legislature to pass one bill: Appropriations Bill for the biennium (2020-2021). Rep. Oscar Longoria is going to lay out Article I, IV, & V

The House just adopted a rule that limits initial debate of the bill generally to 40 minutes and requires the chair of each Appropriations subcommittee to discuss the subcommittee’s work and important changes made to the budget.

The Appropriations Committee divides up the work into subcommittees that focus on certain articles of the budget.
Click here for the list of the members of the House Appropriations Committee.


Update: Tuesday, March 26 at 5:25PM

The Texas House of Representatives will debate our Texas budget for the 2020-2021 biennium. Texas Democrats are introducing crucial budget amendments for strong neighborhood schools, higher incomes for working families, quality healthcare, and an economy that works for everyone. What to expect tomorrow:

Prioritizing public education:

The Texas Democratic Party is strongly opposed to private school vouchers and diverting funds from our public schools to private schools that don’t actually need any additional funding. Multiple Democrats will be filing strong pro-public school amendments including Rep. Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas), Rep. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), Rep. Sergio Munoz (D-Mission), and Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin).

Expanding access to quality healthcare:

Texas is currently ranked dead last in Medicaid spending and more than 4.3 million Texans, including over 600,000 children lack health insurance. On Wednesday, Rep. John Bucy (D-Austin) will lead on expanding Medicaid in Texas, while Rep. Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) will push for amendments combating Texas’ maternal mortality crisis, and Rep. Michelle Beckley (D-Denton) will advocate for a thorough study on immunization rates at child-care facilities and family homes.

Criminal justice reform:

Texas Democrats are committed to fighting for common sense criminal justice reform policies that end racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Rep. Ana Hernandez (D-Houston) will fight for an amendment that bans state funding from going to Trumpian detention centers that lock kids in cages, and Rep. Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville) will defund state funding for private prisons and re-appropriate it to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Supporting our veterans:

Texas Democrats believe that our state budget must put veterans and veteran families first. That’s why Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-San Marcos) has filed an amendment that increases funding for Hazlewood Program reimbursements by $100 million.

No border wall:

Texas Democrats stand in solidarity with Texas landowners who see their livelihoods threatened by Trump’s insistence on building an unconstitutional, useless concrete wall. That’s why Rep. Sergio Munoz (D-Mission) filed an amendment that will prohibit state funding for Trump’s racist border wall.

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia issued the following Statement:

“We must attract the best teachers, fix our school finance system, expand access to healthcare, stop private school voucher schemes, support equal pay practices, and make sure that not a single Texas dime is spent on Trump’s wall.

“Legislators say often that the state budget is a moral document, a declaration of our values. The Republican majority can expect that we will hold them to those words. Line by line, Texas Democrats are fighting for a fair shot for all. We encourage Republicans to join us.

“Texas Democrats only need 9 seats to take back the Texas House. There were 18 Republican districts within 10 points. As Texas Republicans try to sneak in amendments that would cut funding from schools, increase air pollution, and give millions to fake healthcare centers, they should remember that the eyes of Texas are upon them.”