Current Actions

4 minute read

Actions to take the week of April 12

1. Support Inclusive Child Care

HB 168 (M. González) is still pending in the House Human Services committee and needs a push to get voted out. This bill would would improve partnerships between child care providers and Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) programs to better serve children with developmental delays and disabilities.

Call the members of House Human Services and urge them to favorably vote this bill out. Phone numbers are below, and you can use the following sample language in your message: I am calling to urge you to vote HB 168 (M. Gonzalez) favorably out of committee so it can be heard on the House floor. This bill would: increase child care providers' ability to work with children with developmental delays and disabilities, support early childhood mental health, and improve referrals to critical early childhood intervention services for babies and toddlers.

Committee member Phone #
Chair Rep. James Frank (512) 463-0534
Vice-Chair Rep. Gina Hinojosa (512) 463-0668
Rep. Lacey Hull (512) 463-0727
Rep. Stephanie Klick (512) 463-0599
Rep. Terry Meza (512) 463-0641
Rep. Victoria Neave (512) 463-0244
Rep. Candy Noble (512) 463-0186
Rep. Toni Rose (512) 463-0664
Rep. Matt Shaheen (512) 463-0594

2. Prohibit Early Pick-ups as Discipline

A hearing request has been submitted for HB 2297 (Allen), but a hearing for this bill still hasn't been set. This bill would prohibit school districts from contacting parents to pick-up and remove their child from campus as a form of discipline or behavior management. Students with disabilities are more likely to be subjected to informal types of discipline that go undocumented, like early pickups, which schools use circumvent the requirement to conduct manifestation determination reviews and instead, place the student in harsh disciplinary programs without due process.

Use the Autism Society of Texas' Advocacy Action Alert to contact the House Public Education Committee and ask them to set a hearing for HB 2297.

3. No Kids in Cuffs

HB 2975 (Hull) was well received in House Public House, but is still pending in committee. This bill would prohibit peace officers from restraining students younger than 10 years old, unless they pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or another person.

Call the members of House Public Education and urge them to favorably vote this bill out. Phone numbers are below, and you can use the following sample language in your message: I am calling to urge you to vote HB 2975 (Hull) favorably out of committee so it can be heard on the House floor. This bill would close a public policy loophole on students’ physical restraint, 10 and under, by peace officers and school security personnel, unless they pose a serious risk of harm to themselves or others. Closing the public policy loophole will reduce or even prevent trauma from a harmful interactions with law enforcement for both children and security personnel.

Committee Member Phone #
Chair Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. (512) 463-0510
Vice Chair Rep. J.M. Lozano (512) 463-0463
Rep. Brad Buckley (512) 463-0684
Rep. Dan Huberty (512) 463-0520
Rep. Diego Bernal (512) 463-0532
Rep. Dr. Alma Allen (512) 463-0744
Rep. Gary VanDeaver (512) 463-0692
Rep. James Talarico (512) 463-0670
Rep. Keith Bell (512) 463-0458
Rep. Ken King (512) 463-0736
Rep. Mary Gonzalez (512) 463-0613
Rep. Steve Allison (512) 463-0686
Rep. Terry Meza (512) 463-0641
Committee Clerk Tamoria Jones (512) 463-0804

4. Protect Access to Medications

2 consumer protection bills are being heard Tuesday in the House Insurance committee that need a show of public support. HB 2668 (Price) would protect consumers from Copay Accumulators, a new insurance practice that raises individuals' healthcare costs. HB 1646 (Lambert) would prevent non-medical switching (or drug switching), a set of tactics health insurers use to switch stable consumers off their already-prescribed medications for non-medical reasons.

These bills are good for consumers, but are getting a lot of push back from health insurance companies. 

Register your support for HB 2668 and HB 1646 using the House Public Comment form. You'll go through the submission process twice, one time for each bill. In the comment, box, it's ok to just say "I support HB 2668" or "I support HB 1646" if you don't have time to tell your story

5. Expand Health Insurance

By refusing to expand Medicaid, our state leaders are turning down $10 billion dollars of federal funding each year. In a year when budget uncertainty jeopardizes programs that Texas families need, our state needs the infusion of funds that only Medicaid expansion can provide. Get involved with the Sick of It TX coalition for multiple ways to support Medicaid expansion, including telling your own story and contacting your legislator

Tips for calling or emailing a legislator

  1. Be sure to say in your communication if you are a constituent of a particular committee member (look up your reps).
  2. Real life stories are great! If you have a personal story related to an issue, briefly tell it. Examples: “My daughter has been on the waiting list for ____ years.”  “My family member has a hard time getting an attendant to work on Medicaid wages.”
  3. If applicable, tell your legislator what IS working, not just what you want to change. Tell them what you appreciate and want to keep about a program or law.
  4. Network with other advocates to stay informed and motivated.
  5. If you have them, use attention-getting statistics.

What happens when you email or call a legislator?

When you write an email, you may not get an answer. If you call and talk to a legislative office, the staffer may take your name and why you call. As a result, you may feel your voice was not heard. This is not the case. Staff tracks communications like the number of emails, phone calls, and letters on an issue. This will be shared with the legislator and can often influence her or him. Every legislative session, there are bills passed that were unexpected—and in many cases that was the result of emails and phone calls. In 2021, as in-person office visits are expected to be dramatically decreased, calls and emails will be critical communication channels to your elected representatives!

@TXDisabilities