A Whirlwind at the Texas Legislature Ends With a Bang

This blog was co-authored by Every Texan Chief Executive Officer Marisa Bono and Legislative & Policy Director Luis Figueroa.

With the legislative session over, we’re working on taking stock of late developments on bills that would impact Texans. Our team will keep following the legislative items from this session and be ready for any special sessions and interim hearings.

In between a number of racist, xenophobic, and short-sighted bills that did pass, we are celebrating some important legislative victories.

Good News

  • HB 133, which would extend postpartum coverage for Texas moms, was the last bill to pass out of the Texas Senate in the early hours of May 27. The bill extends new moms’ health coverage by an additional four months of coverage for a total of six months — even though a year of postpartum health care was the top recommendation of the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee. Every Texan is proud to be part of the coalition that advocated for this significant policy improvement.
  • HB 290, which provides continuous Medicaid coverage for children, passed as an amendment to HB 2658 in conference committee, after it appeared to be dead when Lt. Governor Dan Patrick did not recognize the author of the bill on the last day bills could be passed in the Senate. This top priority bill will be very beneficial for removing barriers to keeping eligible kids enrolled in Medicaid. 
  • Thanks to our collective work, legislative support crumbled for Chapter 313 corporate tax giveaways, which let companies out of contributing what they owe to our schools. HB 4242, which would have extended this school property tax abatement program for just two more years, stumbled out of the Senate committee late last week and did not receive a Senate vote.
  • SB 14 was an overly broad bill that would strip cities’ power to require any additional employment benefit beyond federal and state law. The broad provisions were stripped out in the House but restored in conference committee. When the House Democrats broke quorum on the last day of session, this bill also thankfully died.

Bad News

  • Under SB 1336, lawmakers created a new arbitrary spending cap for public investments in the people of Texas. This bill reduces the legislature’s budget-writing flexibility even more than the constitutional spending limits already in place, and makes it more unlikely that services cut during a recession would ever be restored.

This was a challenging legislative session, where politics took priority over people. At Every Texan, we will fight during the interim to promote policies that help all Texans from all backgrounds thrive. We appreciate everyone who advocated during such a difficult legislative session, especially amid rushed hearings, secret meetings and restricted public access.

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