Fighting the Good Fight in Texas
What Nonprofits are Advocating for (and Against) at the Texas Legislature
It’s April of 2019, and the Texas Legislature is in full swing. Nonprofits across the state are rallying at the Capitol in support of (and in opposition to) dozens of bills that would impact their constituents. Here’s a quick glimpse at several pieces of legislation that we’re watching closely along with our nonprofit partners.
- HB 79 would finally bring Texas into the 21st century by allowing citizens to register to vote online. While dozens of states already allow for electronic voter registration, the state of Texas does not. This bill would modernize Texas’s voter registration processes and simplify registration procedures for those eligible to vote. Organizations like the Texas Civil Rights Project are on board with the proposal and working diligently to protect the voting rights of Texas citizens.
- HB 3, which passed the House earlier this week, would increase per-student funding for schools and fund full-day Pre-K for low income students in most Texas school districts. The bill garnered bipartisan support in the Texas House and is now set to make its way to the Senate. The Commit Partnership and Texans Care for Children are just a couple of the nonprofits that have helped to push this bill through the legislative process. We look forward to watching it continue to move in the final weeks of the legislative session.
- SB 15 (refiled as SB 2485, 2486, 2487, and 2488) would ban local governments from enacting legislation or other policies that would require private employers to provide employment benefits to their employees. In 2018, cities like San Antonio and Austin enacted ordinances that would require employers to provide paid sick leave to their workers. Now, their efforts are in jeopardy as a result of this legislative proposal. Organizations like the Center for Public Policy Priorities are actively stepping up to protect the rights of cities to make decisions that will reflect their communities’ needs and values.
- HB 1929 would prevent healthcare providers that offer abortion services from receiving public funds and would stop cities and counties from working with clinics, like Planned Parenthood, that also offer cervical cancer screenings, STI prevention and treatment, breast exams, pregnancy prevention, and other critical health care services. In response to the bill, organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice Texas are mobilizing their constituents and speaking out against attempts to deny Texans the care that they need.
- SB 17 would prohibit state licensing agencies from taking adverse action when licensed professionals, like doctors and lawyers, deny services based on their personal religious beliefs. If passed, this bill could adversely impact LGBTQ community members, who could face discrimination and be denied access to basic health care, legal, and other services. The bill already passed the Texas Senate, and it is now moving to the House. That is why several nonprofits like the Texas Freedom Network, Resource Center, and Equality Texas are ramping up efforts to defeat the legislation and advocate on behalf of individuals who could suffer tremendously from the bill’s passage.
If your nonprofit organization is interested in finding out more about how you can lawfully advocate for your community’s needs, please contact us [email protected]. You can also learn more about how public charities can lobby by clicking here.