AUSTIN, Texas — With Budget Day under way in the Texas House, Democrats are fighting to tackle our state’s most pressing issues — from pushing to get more Texans healthcare, to fighting to get schools the funding they need. However, today’s vital efforts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Democrats’ work to protect Texas communities.
Today, for a special Budget Day edition, we’re taking a break from highlighting the terrible things Greg Abbott is up to — and instead, we’re looking at just a few of the incredibly important bills House Democrats have put forward during this legislative session. Without further ado, here’s our selection of House Democrats’ standout bills this year:
- Democrats are working to get rural Texans broadband. HB 5, sponsored by five House Democrats, would bring broadband access to rural and underserved areas — helping close the digital gap and opening up more opportunities for Texans to learn remotely, do business, and stay in touch with loved ones.
- Democrats are defending abortion rights and reproductive justice. House Democrats have filed a slew of bills aiming to restore and safeguard Texans’ abortion rights and expand reproductive healthcare access, including: Rep. Donna Howard’s (D-Austin) Abortion in Health Care Act, repealing all medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion in Texas; Rep. Jon Rosenthal’s (D-Houston) HB 627 and HB 698, protecting abortion providers from harassment and prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of reproductive health decisions; Rep. Ana-Maria Ramos’ (D-Dallas) HB 3369, allowing teens to consent to their own contraception; and Rep. Ramos’ Free Choice of Provider Act, undoing funding restrictions to help repair Texas’ reproductive health care safety net.
- Democrats are making it easier for Texans to get information on where and when to vote. Texas currently has no adequate statewide system for getting voters the information they need to participate in local elections. Rep. John Bucy (D-Austin) has put forward HB 2859, which would centralize information about local elections across the state — ensuring Texans can easily find out when their local elections are happening, what their voting options are, and who’s on their ballot.
- Democrats are fighting for racial justice. With the George Floyd Act, filed by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and strongly supported by the Texas Black Caucus, Democrats are pushing to end police brutality and keep Texans safe, including by narrowing use of force and prohibiting chokeholds, enacting a duty to intervene in instances of excessive force, and strengthening protocols for investigating officer misconduct. Meanwhile, Rep. Gene Wu’s (D-Houston) HCR 66 would help combat anti-Asian racism and protect Texans from rising rates of hate crimes against the AAPI community.
- Not a bill, but a standout moment: Democrats are fighting tooth and nail — and day and night — to protect our right to vote. Earlier this month, House Elections Committee Democrats, led by Committee Vice-Chair Rep. Jessica González (D-Dallas), stayed in a hearing past 6 a.m. to try to stop voter suppression bill HB 6 from moving forward, and make sure Texans could share testimony on how this bill will affect their communities. This display of leadership was one among many in Democrats’ ongoing fight to protect voting rights.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Today and every day, Democrats are protecting our communities. House Democrats are fighting relentlessly to tackle the toughest issues facing our state, and I could not be more proud of their hard work — in the state budget today, and in the many important bills they’ve filed this session.
“Expanding health care, fighting for racial justice, getting funding to schools, defending voting rights, protecting abortion access, closing the gap in internet access for rural Texans — these are just a few of the ways Democrats are working to make Texas work better for all of us. That’s what we stand for.”