Difference between revisions of "Texas"

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== [[File:notification.png | left | 50px | Updates | link= ]] Updates ==
 
== [[File:notification.png | left | 50px | Updates | link= ]] Updates ==
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*4/20/2017: The Texas House passed an amendment to House Bill 100, a bill designed to regulate the use of car-hailing apps such as Uber or Lyft, which defines sex as a biological characteristic defined at birth, potentially allowing for discrimination against transgender individuals.[https://www.texastribune.org/2017/04/19/texas-house-tentatively-backs-bill-setting-statewide-regulations-uber-/]
 
*2/28/2017: The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a Houston case challenging the city's benefits policy for [[LGBTQ Equality|same-sex couples]]. Opponents of the policy state that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage does not mean that same-sex couples are entitled to spousal benefits, and hope to be able to deny them those benefits.[https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/28/texas-supreme-court-take-same-sex-marriage-case/]
 
*2/28/2017: The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a Houston case challenging the city's benefits policy for [[LGBTQ Equality|same-sex couples]]. Opponents of the policy state that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage does not mean that same-sex couples are entitled to spousal benefits, and hope to be able to deny them those benefits.[https://www.texastribune.org/2017/02/28/texas-supreme-court-take-same-sex-marriage-case/]
 
*2/23/2017: A proposed bill would give families [[Educational Justice|vouchers]] to encourage kids to attend private, online schools or other options beyond traditional public and charter campuses. Many worry that this might leave children from underprivileged areas behind.[http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2017/02/23/private-school-deserts-leave-dallas-poorest-kids-behind-texas-voucher-plan]
 
*2/23/2017: A proposed bill would give families [[Educational Justice|vouchers]] to encourage kids to attend private, online schools or other options beyond traditional public and charter campuses. Many worry that this might leave children from underprivileged areas behind.[http://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/2017/02/23/private-school-deserts-leave-dallas-poorest-kids-behind-texas-voucher-plan]
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*[https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/SB643/ '''SB643'''] would require [[Voting Rights|voters]] to show proof of citizenship to vote. This would likely [https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/15/do-voter-identification-laws-suppress-minority-voting-yes-we-did-the-research/ reduce the turnout] among people of color.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/SB643/]]
 
*[https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/SB643/ '''SB643'''] would require [[Voting Rights|voters]] to show proof of citizenship to vote. This would likely [https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/02/15/do-voter-identification-laws-suppress-minority-voting-yes-we-did-the-research/ reduce the turnout] among people of color.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/SB643/]]
 
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*[http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB1923 '''HB 1923'''] would prohibit any adverse action by government entities against people acting according to the belief that marriage should only be between [[LGBTQ Equality|one man and one woman]] or that sexual relations should be reserved to such a marriage.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB1923]]
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*[http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB1923 '''HB 1923'''] would prohibit any action by government entities against people acting according to the belief that marriage should only be between [[LGBTQ Equality|one man and one woman]] or that sexual relations should be reserved to such a marriage.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=HB1923]]
 
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*[http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB651 '''SB 651'''] would allow widespread [[LGBTQ Equality|discrimination against LGBTQ+]] individuals.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB651]]
 
*[http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB651 '''SB 651'''] would allow widespread [[LGBTQ Equality|discrimination against LGBTQ+]] individuals.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=85R&Bill=SB651]]
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*[https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB2899/ '''SB 2899'''] would prohibit cities or counties from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, which would effectively prohibit legal protection of LGBTQ+ individuals.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB2899/]]
 
*[https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB2899/ '''SB 2899'''] would prohibit cities or counties from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, which would effectively prohibit legal protection of LGBTQ+ individuals.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB2899/]]
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*[https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB1362/ '''HB 1362'''] would prevent government entities in the state from enacting ordinances allowing transgender individuals to use bathrooms or changing facilities matching their gender identity.<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB1362/]]
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*[https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB2779/ '''SB 2779'''] would prohibit government action against any individual who acts according to their belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman or that the terms man and woman refer to the biological sex of an individual as established at birth, effectively legalizing discrimination against [[LGBTQ Equality | LGBTQ+ individuals]].<br>[[File:Billtracker.png | left | class=img-max-600 | 600px | link=https://openstates.org/tx/bills/85/HB2779/]]
 
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Revision as of 22:00, 20 April 2017

Elected Officials
Ways to Resist



Updates
Updates

  • 4/20/2017: The Texas House passed an amendment to House Bill 100, a bill designed to regulate the use of car-hailing apps such as Uber or Lyft, which defines sex as a biological characteristic defined at birth, potentially allowing for discrimination against transgender individuals.[1]
  • 2/28/2017: The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in a Houston case challenging the city's benefits policy for same-sex couples. Opponents of the policy state that the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage does not mean that same-sex couples are entitled to spousal benefits, and hope to be able to deny them those benefits.[2]
  • 2/23/2017: A proposed bill would give families vouchers to encourage kids to attend private, online schools or other options beyond traditional public and charter campuses. Many worry that this might leave children from underprivileged areas behind.[3]
  • 2/22/2017: A federal judge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood, ruling that the state cannot withhold Medicaid money from the medical provider. In December, Texas cut off Medicaid funds to some Planned Parenthood groups.[4]
  • 2/2/2017: The Texas State Board of Education approved a version of the high school biology curriculum that requires students to learn about scientific phenomena that cannot be explained by evolution. Some board members worry that this will lead to teaching creationism or intelligent design in science classes, or that the information is "vague, redundant or would require too much time to teach."[5]

Actions Taken by the State Government
Actions Taken by the State Government

Legislative Actions

Legislation that Supports Equity and Justice
Important bills proposed by Texas lawmakers this legislative session that should be supported:

  • HB 1125 would prevent judges from converting unpaid fines into jail time, preventing de facto debtors' prisons.
    Billtracker.png


  • HB 567 would prevent police from arresting people based on a traffic violation.
    Billtracker.png





  • SB 911 would remove the name of the clerk from marriage licenses, preventing tensions around the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses.[6]
    Billtracker.png


  • HB 192 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in housing.
    Billtracker.png


  • HB 225 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in employment.
    Billtracker.png


  • HB 876 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression in employment for state contractors.
    Billtracker.png


  • HB 2312 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing.
    Billtracker.png


  • SB 165 would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression under certain circumstances.
    Billtracker.png



Harmful Legislation
Harmful bills proposed by Texas lawmakers this legislative session that should be opposed:


  • SB 6 would overturn nondiscrimination ordinances currently protecting transgender individuals in some cities and make it illegal for transgender people in Texas to be afforded access to facilities matching their gender identity.
    Billtrackersenate.png



  • HB 1923 would prohibit any action by government entities against people acting according to the belief that marriage should only be between one man and one woman or that sexual relations should be reserved to such a marriage.
    Billtracker.png




  • HB 1805 would prohibit any adverse action against a child welfare service provider refusing to provide services to an individual on religious grounds or refusing to provide information or counseling concerning contraceptives or abortions.
    Billtracker.png


  • SB 134 would prohibit the State of Texas from contracting with businesses that boycott Israeli businesses.
    Billtracker.png


  • SB 3 would establish school vouchers for kids to attend private schools. The bill might leave kids from underprivileged areas behind.
    Billtracker.png


  • SB 522 would allow discrimination against same-sex couples by authorizing clerks to delegate providing a marriage license to deputies, magistrates or contractors if delivering said license would contradict clerks' religious beliefs. If no certifying official in the county was willing to deliver the license, the couple would have to go to another county to obtain it.
    Billtrackersenate.png


  • SB 2899 would prohibit cities or counties from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, which would effectively prohibit legal protection of LGBTQ+ individuals.
    Billtracker.png


  • HB 1362 would prevent government entities in the state from enacting ordinances allowing transgender individuals to use bathrooms or changing facilities matching their gender identity.
    Billtracker.png


  • SB 2779 would prohibit government action against any individual who acts according to their belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman or that the terms man and woman refer to the biological sex of an individual as established at birth, effectively legalizing discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.
    Billtracker.png


See also the main policy pages for federal legislative tracking.

Key Upcoming Elections
Key Upcoming Elections

Click here to find out if you're registered to vote. Register to vote online here or in person at your local Voter Registrar's office. The deadline to register is 30 days before Election Day. Proof of identification is requrested to vote. Find acceptable forms of identification here.

Federal Elections

  • Texas 46th State House District elections will be held in 2017.[7]

2018 Competitive House Elections

  • Texas District 7 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative John Culberson (R) won the 2016 election with 56.2% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 48.5% of the vote.
  • Texas District 23 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative Will Hurd (R) won the 2016 election with 48.5% of the vote. Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 49.8% of the vote.
  • Texas District 32 is a competitive district with the potential to flip to blue. Representative Pete Sessions (R) won the 2016 election with 71% of the vote (there was no Democrat in the race, only third-party candidates). Clinton won the district in the 2016 presidential election with 48.5% of the vote.

2018 Senate Election

  • Senator Ted Cruz is up for re-election.

2020 Senate Election

  • Senator John Cornyn is up for re-election.

State Elections

  • Governor Greg Abbott (R) is up for re-election in 2018.[8]

Local Elections

Mayoral Elections

  • Arlington Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[9]
  • El Paso Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[10]
  • Fort Worth Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[11]
  • San Antonio Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[12]

School Board Elections

Prosecutor Elections

Sheriff Elections

County Commissioners Elections

City Council Elections

  • Arlington Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[13]
  • El Paso Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[14]
  • Fort Worth Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[15]
  • San Antonio Mayoral elections will take place in 2017: primaries on May 6, general on June 10.[16]

Obamacare / link=
Healthcare

In Texas, 16% of the population remains uninsured compared to a national average of 9%.[17] Texas is a state that has not expanded Medicaid coverage to more people as allowed under the ACA.[18]

ACA Repeal

  • If there is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, 992,481 people in Texas (or 3.6% of the population) are estimated to lose coverage, whereas 2,550,000 people (or 9.2% of the population) will lose coverage with a partial repeal. (Retrieved 1/26/2017 from ACA Repeal Impact, state-by-state.) This is because with a full repeal, premiums will not increase the way they would under a partial repeal, since insurance companies will be able to discriminate on the basis of preexisting conditions and won't be required to provide essential health benefits.[19] Not covering preexisting conditions will disproportionately affect people with disabilities.
  • The number of uninsured people in Texas is predicted to be 4,478,000 by 2021 under the ACA. Without the ACA, that number is expected to rise to 6,602,000, a 47.4% increase.[20]
  • Texas is among the states that lost the ability to place lifetime limits on coverage, because that practice is banned by the ACA; those limits are likely to be reinstated under a full repeal.[21]
  • Prior to the ACA's ban on gender-rating, women in Texas could pay up to 29% more for the same coverage, compared to men; an ACA repeal could bring back that coverage gap.[22]
  • Given that a repeal of the ACA would also change payment structures and subsidies, 175,000 jobs could be lost in Texas. When federal funding is cut, it creates a ripple effect that affects local and state revenue, thus creating losses in economic activity and employment.[23]
  • Under the ACA Repeal-and-Delay strategy, young adults in Texas could pay $626 more in 2018.[24]

Policing
Policing

The Facts
419 people were killed by the police in Texas from 2013 to 2016, which is the 22nd most per capita in the country. Black people were killed at a rate 2 times higher than the rate for all people in Texas. The San Antonio, Garland and El Paso Police Departments in particular have issues with disproportionate police violence, with black people in those cities being killed at rates 3.8, 3.5, and 6.5 times higher than average, respectively.[25]

Policy Solutions / Issues
Texas lawmakers are currently considering Senate Bill 380, which would stop police from being able to seize property and cash from civilians who have not been convicted of a crime (also known as civil asset forfeiture).

Immigration
Immigration

The Facts

  • In 2013, Texas had 4,369,271 immigrants, making up 16.5% of the population.[26]
  • There are estimated to be 1,650,000 undocumented immigrants in Texas, making up 6.1% of the population.[27]

Rights of Non-Citizens

  • Texas does not allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers’ licenses.[28]
  • Texas allows undocumented immigrants to attend public college at the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents and citizens.[29]
  • State Representative Jonathan Stickland, R-Fort Worth, is carrying House Bill 393, which would repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students.[30]
  • In 2012, President Barack Obama signed an executive order (DACA) that defers deportation for children who were brought to the country as children. The action allows them to work lawfully but does not create a pathway to citizenship or give them legal status in the United States. In Texas, 199,084 individuals have benefited from this executive action.[31]

Deportation

The Facts

  • 13.4% of K-12 students in Texas had undocumented parents in 2014.[32]
  • Undocumented immigrants in Texas made up 8.5% of the labor workforce in 2014.[33]
  • If all undocumented workers were removed from Texas, the state would lose $69.3 billion in economic activity.[34]
  • Undocumented immigrants paid $1.6 billion in state and local taxes in Texas in 2012.[35]

Policy

  • The state legislature has introduced several bills similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 (which requires police to check detained/arrested people's immigration status if it is suspected that they might not be in the US legally),[36] but none has passed.[37]

Sanctuary Policies

  • The Travis County Sheriff's Office has announced that they will be limiting cooperation with the federal government in regard to immigration policies, and has taken the first step in enacting their own sanctuary policies.[38] In response, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) has cut funding to the county.[39]
  • State Senator Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, has filed Senate Bill 4, an “anti-sanctuary bill that would require Texas cities and counties to honor Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers—meaning jails would have to hold undocumented immigrants at ICE’s request for the agency to potentially deport them. The bill would strip state funding from cities and counties that do not comply.”[40]
    • Senate Bill 4 has passed the senate (along party lines) and is now heading to the House.[41]

Refugee Resettlement

  • Texas ranked second, behind California, in refugee resettlement in 2016, with 7,803 refugees resettled.[42]

Voting Rights
Voting Rights

  • Voters face the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The VRA was designed to prevent discrimination in voting. Overall, states are passing fewer laws to restrict voting rights. However, voter ID bills are the most common type of restriction.
  • Texas is among the 14 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election.[43]
  • The US Supreme Court declined to take up Texas’s effort to salvage its strict voter identification law. This was a temporary victory to civil rights advocates who argued, successfully, that the law discriminates against minorities. Unfortunately, Chief Justice John Roberts said that Texas could appeal again after a lower court rules whether state lawmakers discriminated on purpose when they passed the law in 2011.[44]

Mass Incarceration
Mass Incarceration

The Facts

  • In 2014, 224,799 people were incarcerated in Texas, plus a probation population of 398,607 and parole population of 111,302.
  • Of the prison population, 9,031 people were serving life sentences, and 538 were serving life sentences without parole.
  • 4,383 juveniles were in custody in Texas in 2013.
  • In Texas, a black person was 4 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person in 2014.
  • 14,368 people were incarcerated in private prisons.
  • Corrections expenditures in 2014 were $3,423 million.[45]

Updates

  • In March 2017 the County commissioners of Willacy County decided to hand ownership of a detention facility to Management and Training Corporation, which formerly operated the prison, despite having sued MTC originally for not properly managing the facility. [46]

Benefits / Tax Cuts
Benefits / Tax Cuts

Income Tax

The Facts

  • Texas residents who face a tax increase under Trump’s plan:[47]
    • Households: 770,000
    • Adults and children: 2,409,000
    • Children: 1,415,000

Policy

Public Benefits

The Facts

  • In 2015, an average of 1,558,597 households and 3,724,688 individuals received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) in a given month in Texas.[48] In 2011, approximately 15% of the population of Texas was receiving SNAP benefits.[49] The average monthly benefit was $276 per household and $115 per person in 2016.[50]
  • In 2016, an average of 64,233 households, including 29,567 families and 56,800 children, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is direct financial assistance, in a given month.[51] The average monthly benefit for a single parent with three children residing in Texas was $285 in 2014.[52] Average benefits in Texas have fallen in value by 0.6% since 1996.[53]
  • In 2016, an average of 230,110 women received funds from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in a given month.[54]
  • In December 2015, there were 104,901 Social Security recipients in the "aged" category[55] who received $336.93 per person on average, for a total of $35,345,000.[56]

Housing/Infrastructure
Housing/Infrastructure

Housing

The Facts

  • 702,000 low-income families spent more than half of their income on housing.[57]
  • In 2014, Texas had 24 units (less than the national level) of affordable and available housing for every 100 households categorized as “extremely low income” (at or below 30% of area median income).[58]
  • In Texas, there were 23,122 homeless people in 2016.[59]
  • Of the homeless population, there were 2,297 families, 1,768 veterans, 1,122 unaccompanied young adults (18-24), and 3,689 people experiencing chronic homelessness.[60]
  • Texas received $1.799 billion in federal rental assistance funding in 2014.[61]
  • In Texas, more than 278,000 families relied on federal rental assistance in 2014.[62]
  • Nearly all Texas households using federal rental assistance included children, elderly people or disabled people.[63]

Infrastructure

The Facts

  • Texas's infrastructure received a score of C from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.[64]
  • This study gave the state “good” scores for solid waste, bridges, and energy, and identified drinking water, flood control, education, dams, and roads as being in “poor” condition.[65]
  • In 2013, the Department of Transportation found that 19% of Texas's bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 38% of Texas's roads were in poor or mediocre condition.[66]
  • Driving on these roads leads to an additional $343 per motorist per year in increased vehicle repairs and operating costs.[67]

Policy

  • Houston is in the process of expanding bus service, with new routes and more express service.[68]

Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice
Women's Rights/Reproductive Justice

Planned Parenthood

The Facts[69]

  • Texas has 34 Planned Parenthood centers.
  • In 2015, 19 centers were in rural, medically underserved, or health provider shortage areas.
  • On average, there is one Planned Parenthood for 169,471 women of reproductive age.

Policy Solutions / Issues

Abortion

The Facts[70]

  • There were 44 abortion providers in Texas in 2015.
  • In 2014, 10.7 out of every 1,000 women of reproductive age in Texas had an abortion. The national abortion rate is 14.6.

Policy Solutions / Issues[71]

  • There is a 24-hour waiting period required after mandatory counseling.
  • Parental consent and notice is required for minors.
  • Ultrasound requirements exist.
  • Abortion is prohibited after 20 weeks except in cases of life or health endangerment.
  • Mandated counseling includes misleading information.
  • Medical abortion is limited.
  • State Medicaid does not fund most abortions.
  • TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws exist.

Divorce

"In December, [Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth)] filed House Bill 93, which would require all divorce filings to be fault-based, as well as House Bill 65, which would lengthen the waiting period for divorces from 60 to 180 days."[72]

Women and Wages

The Facts[73]

  • In Texas, 15.3% of women live in poverty. 39.9% of single mothers live in poverty, as do 11.5% of women age 65 and older.
  • For every dollar made by men, women are paid $0.79, which is one cent below the national average of $0.80.
  • African American women are paid $0.59 for every dollar paid to white men, while Latina women make $0.44 for every dollar made by white men.

Domestic Violence in Texas

The Facts[74]

  • In 2013, there were 76,704 reports of abuse by current or former spouses. Many other incidents went unreported. This statistic excludes reported abuse between non-married intimate partners.
  • In 2014, Texas domestic violence hotlines answered 185,373 calls.
  • In 2012, 114 Texan women were killed by intimate partners, more than 10% of the national total.
  • 75% of Texans age 16 to 24 have either experienced dating violence or know another young person who has.
  • In 2013, 31% of victims/survivors of domestic violence requesting shelter were turned away due lack of resources.

LGBTQ Issues / link=
LGBTQ+ Issues

Religious freedom law

Religious freedom laws protect people's right to practice their religion and limit laws imposing on that right, and were intended to protect religious minorities. However, after same-sex marriage was legalized, conservative states have attempted to enact similar laws with provisions that allow discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals.[75] A State Religious Freedom Law was enacted in Texas in 1999 to protect religious minorities, and the law includes provisions to ensure that it cannot be used to disregard protections against discrimination.[76][77]

Nondiscrimination laws

  • Texas has nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in foster care and insurance, but lacks laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, adoption, education, jury selection and credit.[78]
  • The Texas Supreme Court has agreed to review a decision granting equal benefits to same-sex married couples, with at least one judge on record endorsing the idea that marriage is a right but spousal benefits are not.[79]

Parenting laws

Texas has laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in certain areas of parenting, including second-parent adoption, surrogacy, parental presumption for same-sex couples, and de facto parent recognition.[80]

Hate crime laws

Texas requires reporting of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, but only includes sexual orientation (not gender identity) in applying hate crime protections.[81]

Youth laws

  • Texas does not have certain laws protecting LGBTQ+ youth, including transgender inclusion in sports, protection from conversion therapy, laws to address LGBTQ+ youth homelessness, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex education laws, and LGBTQ+ inclusive juvenile justice policies.[82]
  • Texas has a law that restricts inclusion of LGBTQ+ topics in schools.[83]

Health and safety laws

  • Texas does not have certain laws protecting the health and safety of its LGBTQ+ citizens, including nondiscrimination protections in the ACA exchanges, a ban on insurance exclusions for trans health care, trans-inclusive health benefits for state employees, gender marker changes on identification documents, and gender-neutral single-occupancy restrooms.[84]
  • Texas does have laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people in ensuring their health and safety such, as sodomy laws and transgender exclusions in state Medicaid.[85]
  • Senate Bill 6, one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s legislative priorities, would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and public universities based on “biological sex.” The measure would also preempt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.[86] The NBA and the NFL have stood against this measure, warning Texas that the state could be overlooked for future events if the bill passes.[87]

Educational Justice
Educational Justice

The Facts

  • Texas is ranked 45th in per-pupil spending as of 2013, with an average expenditure of $8,299 per student.[88]
  • As of 2013, Texas ranked 39th in teacher pay, with teachers earning an average of $48,110 per year.[89]
  • 92% of students in Texas attend public schools. As is the case in other states, students who attend private schools come from wealthier families, with private school families earning an average 96% higher income.[90]
  • As of 2014, public charter school enrollment accounted for 4.6% of total public school enrollment.[91]
  • Texas's overall graduation rate is 88%, just above the national average. By subgroups, four-year graduation rates in Texas are as follows:
    • White: 93%
    • Latino: 86%
    • Black: 84%
    • Asian/Pacific Islander: 95%
    • American Indian: 87%
    • Economically Disadvantaged: 85%
    • Limited English Proficient: 72%
    • Students with Disabilities: 78%[92]

Consumer Protections /Worker's Rights
Consumer Protections / Workers' Rights

The Facts

  • Texas has a state minimum wage of $7.25, the same as the federal minimum wage of $7.25.[93]
  • Texas has no state law for paid sick leave.[94]
  • Texas has no state law for paid family leave.[95]

Policies

  • Texas has Right-to-Work laws, which means that the state can prohibit unions that collectively bargain on behalf of both members and nonmembers from requiring union fees for the services they provide to all workers they represent. Such laws are designed to reduce unions' income and power.[96]
  • Texas is a state with an at-will exemption.[97] "At-will" means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason, without breaking the law.[98] Likewise, an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.[99]
  • Texas also has a public policy exemption,[100] meaning that an employer may not fire an employee if it would violate the state's public policy doctrine or a state or federal statute, including refusing to perform an act that state law prohibits (e.g., refusing an employer's request to commit perjury at a trial), reporting a violation of the law (e.g., reporting an employer's fraudulent accounting practices or use of child labor), engaging in acts that are in the public interest (e.g., joining the National Guard or performing jury duty) and exercising a statutory right (e.g., filing a claim under the state workers' compensation law).[101]
  • Texas does allow for implied contract exemptions.[102]. An implied contract can be created in several different ways: oral assurances by a supervisor; or handbooks, policies or practices as written assurances by the employer. This means that if there is no written contract between the employer and employee, that employee may have an exception of fixed term or even indefinite employment based on an employer's statements.[103] As a general rule, courts disregard language promising long-term, lifetime or permanent employment as aspirational and consider the relationship to be at-will.[104]
  • Texas does not support the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing.[105] Courts have interpreted the covenant in different ways, from requiring just cause for termination to prohibiting terminations made in bad faith or motivated by malice.[106]

Climate / Environment
Climate / Environment

The Facts

  • Approximately 75% of Texas’s electricity generation is from fossil fuels.[107]
  • Texas has 52 sites on the National Priorities List.[108]
  • Approximately 1.8% of Texas’s land is federally owned.[109]
  • In 2014, the Black population had the highest air pollution exposure index—of 63—compared to an overall index of 53.[110]
  • In 2012, Native American adults in Texas were most likely to have asthma—16.1%, compared to 7.1% overall.[111]

Policies

  • The environmental agency in Texas is the Commission on Environmental Quality, which seeks to protect the state's public health and natural resources consistent with sustainable economic development.
  • $38.9 million of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s $456 million budget comes from federal funding.[112]
  • Texas does not have a climate action plan.[113]
  • In 2005, Texas established a renewable energy goal of 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025. The state surpassed this target in 2009, mostly using wind power.[114]

Disability Rights
Disability Rights

The Facts

  • 11.6% of Texas's residents are disabled, compared with the national average of 12.6%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table R1810]
  • The employment rate among disabled adults in Texas is 38.6%, compared to the national average of 34.9%. People without disabilities in Texas have a 75.5% employment rate. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Tables R1811 & B18120]
  • Approximately 14.8% of eligible voters in Texas have one or more disabilities, compared to a national average of 15.7%.[115]
  • Of adults with disabilities in Texas, 23.8% live in poverty, as opposed to 12.8% of non-disabled adults. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B23024] The poverty rate for disabled children under 5 is 38.0%, as opposed to 24.8% for non-disabled children. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B18130]
  • In Texas, 4.9% of adults between 18 and 64 receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income), compared to the national average of 5.4%. [2015 US Census American Community Survey, Table B19056]

Organizations
Organizations and Events

Find state/local chapters of national organizations here.

General

Environmental Justice Groups

Disability Rights Organizations

Event Calendars

See also Upcoming Events and Opportunities.

Local News Sources
Local News Sources

  • Texas Legislature: Keep up with legislative activity, look up bills and how a legislator voted, find out who your legislators are and when events such as hearings and meetings are scheduled.


Relevant City and County Information
Relevant City and County Information