It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since thousands of orange-clad Texans made the walls of the Capitol rumble with our protests against politicians forcing their ideological agendas on the women of Texas. History has now proven that, despite what those politicians said, their efforts sought to do only one thing: close abortion clinics.
The power and passion of that movement last summer was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Texas politics. I was keenly aware, even while standing in the Senate gallery beside my cheering daughter, that all this outpouring of energy would have to be channeled into deliberate, determined grassroots action, or nothing was going to change in Texas.
Changing our culture will require tremendous activism at the grassroots level. That’s why it’s time to dust off that orange t-shirt and get involved again. The first thing you can do is add your name to the #FightBackTX pledge. By signing, you’ll send an email to your state senator and representative letting them know that you’ll fight back against any efforts to restrict access to safe and legal abortions.
This week began with the Texas Freedom Network mobilizing supporters of public education, family planning, LGBT rights and religious freedom for big battles at the Texas Capitol. We’re happy to report good news on a number of fronts, but hard work remains ahead of us.
Public Education On Thursday the Texas House voted overwhelmingly, 103-43, to bar spending any public dollars on voucher schemes that subsidize tuition at private and religious schools. This is the third time in the last four legislative sessions that House members have slammed the door on private school vouchers. TFN is still working to block voucher bills being pushed in the Senate.
Family Planning Two years after the Texas House declared war on birth control, House members this week passed a state budget that reverses most of those funding cuts to family planning services for low-income women. Your calls and emails to lawmakers helped stop any repeat of the frenzy to cut family planning funds that occurred during House debate of the budget in 2011. TFN will continue to monitor this critical issue as the House and Senate budget bills go to a conference committee.
LGBT Rights An effort to amend the… Read More
The Austin American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell is reporting that we are not going to see a repeat of the fight on the House floor from two years ago that resulted in massive cuts to the state’s family planning budget:
A brokered agreement will remove about a dozen family planning and abortion-related amendments from the state budget debate under way Thursday in the Texas House.
Removing the volatile amendments from consideration, agreed to by Democrats and Republicans, will protect an additional $100 million set aside for primary health care for low-income women, including contraceptives.
If the agreement holds and the House votes to approve a budget that restores the state’s commitment to family planning services, that will be a major hurdle cleared in the effort to reverse the harmful cuts of 2011.… Read More
Moses State Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton
In week full of religious liberty skirmishes at the Texas Capitol, we would be remiss if we did not flag the most ridiculous church-state proposal we’ve seen this session: HCR 58 by state Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton — a publicity stunt masquerading as a House Concurrent Resolution. The resolution concludes:
RESOLVED, That the 83rd Legislature of the State of Texas hereby support prayers, including the use of the word “God,” at public gatherings as well as displays of the Ten Commandments in public educational institutions and other government buildings.
In other words, Rep. Stephenson is asking his fellow legislators to join him in promoting divisive and unconstitutional practices.
There are plenty of problems with this resolution — its embrace of a flawed, David Barton-esque version of US History, a clear hostility toward any Texan who doesn’t share Rep. Stephenson’s mono-theistic faith, promoting nakedly partisan talking points from the Texas GOP platform. But we’ll limit our criticism to the obvious. The resolution calls for activities already ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. As recently as 2005 (in McCreary… Read More
The Texas Freedom Network will be busy, busy, busy at the Legislature this week. Sex education, religious freedom, LGBT rights, and family planning funding are on legislative calendars. Click on the links in the Take Action box on the right to help our efforts at the Capitol.
The Texas House Committee on Public Education is set to take up House Bill 1057, which could effectively end sex education in many school districts in Texas, the state with the fourth-highest teen birth rate in the nation. HB 1057, by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, would add burdensome new bureaucratic requirements on schools districts and undermine the ability for communities to make their own decisions on sex ed materials and instruction. Learn more about what’s wrong with HB 1057 here.
This legislation’s companion bill, Senate Bill 521, has already been heard by a Senate committee, where it became clear during the hearing that some politicians were more interested in dragging schools into a debate over abortion than they were with responsible teen sex education.
Three bills relating to religious freedom are scheduled for committee hearings at the Texas… Read More