Tag Archives: texas lege

Kroger’s, Macy’s Opposed Equal Pay Law; Sen. Garcia Cancels Macy’s Appearance

It was quite disappointing to hear that two of my favorite stores, Kroger’s and Macy’s, lobbied and sent a letter to Rick Perry asking him to veto the Equal Pay bill passed by a bipartisan Texas Legislature. Rick Perry responded by vetoing the bill.

The bill, authored by State Senator Wendy Davis and State Rep. Senfornia Thompson, would have given legal standing to women who are paid less for doing the same job as a man.

Progress Texas is asking Texans to sign a petition and to join a boycott of Kroger’s and Macys until they reverse their position on the Texas Equal Pay Law.

Your opposition is infuriating. It is shameful that while you are busy convincing Moms and Millennials to spend money on clothes and lunch boxes at back-to-school sales, you are advocating behind their backs to deny women equal pay for equal work.

In response to the news of Macy’s involvement, State Senator Sylvia Garcia (Senate District 6) cancelled an appearance at Macy’s in the Galleria which would have commemorated the 2013 Back to School Sales Tax Holiday.

“While I strongly support the tax free weekend that allows parents struggling to provide clothing and supplies for their children before they return to school, I was dismayed to learn that Macy’s and Kroger would oppose equal pay for equal work.  As a co-sponsor of the legislation and supporter of  equal rights, I am supporting the call to boycott  until these stores  reverse their position and declare their support for equal pay, ”  stated Senator Garcia.

Additional background (below).

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In November, You Will Also Vote on State Amendments

That’s right. While we discuss Houston’s Mayoral and Council elections from now on through the fall, we will also be discussing what else is on the November ballot. Texas voters will consider and vote on nine (9) constitutional amendments, and the Secretary of State has now determined the order in which they will appear.

I’ll be doing some more analysis of the proposed amendments and will also inform you all about how I intend to vote on them. For now, here’s the Trib’s description of each.

First on the ballot will be HJR 62, by state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, which would authorize the Legislature to provide a property tax exemption for the spouses of veterans. This amendment specifically authorizes a tax exemption for all or part of the market value of the residences of spouses of military members who are killed in action.

Second will be HJR 79, by state Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, which would eliminate a requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund. Neither is in operation, with the State Medical Education Board having been defunct for more than a quarter-century.

HJR 133, by state Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving, will appear third on the ballot. The amendment would extend the tax exemption period on storing aircraft parts in the state and would provide more tax relief to aerospace manufacturers, which often hold such parts in inventory for an extended period of time.

HJR 24, by state Rep. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, will follow and authorize the Legislature to give a partial property tax exemption on charity-donated residences to disabled veterans or their surviving spouses. The amendment would strike the current requirement that qualifying residents be “100 percent” disabled.

SJR 18, by state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, will appear fifth on the ballot and would allow homeowners age 62 or older to use reverse mortgages to purchase residences. The current law only expressly allows traditional mortgages, which lets such homeowners borrow against the equity of their homes. The amendment would allow the prospective borrower to use a Federal Housing Administration-insured home equity conversion mortgage to help buy a new home.

Next will be SJR 1, also known as the Rainy Day Fund Amendment. The amendment would create two funds to help finance key projects in the state water plan by pulling about $2 billion from the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund. Authored by state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, the amendment has been opposed by conservatives who have argued that pulling money from the Rainy Day Fund would endanger Texas’ economic health.

HJR 87, by state Rep. Sergio Munoz, Jr., D-Palmview, will appear seventh on the ballot. It would authorize home-rule municipalities to choose how to fill city council vacancies if the positions have less than 12 months remaining in a three- or four-year term. The amendment would remove the requirement to hold a mandatory special election for those positions.

HJR 147, by state Rep. Bobby Guerra, D-Mission, will come next on the ballot. It would repeal a constitutional provision authorizing the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.

Last on the ballot will be SJR 42, by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston. It would authorize the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to use additional disciplinary actions — including public admonition, warning, reprimand, or required additional training or education — against judges or justices after a hearing. The current law allows the SCJC to issue a public censure or recommend a judge’s removal or retirement.

The Rick Perry Record

Thanks to our friends at One Texas PAC, we have a 2-minute vid that sums up the Rick Perry record in Texas. And if the mantle of leadership is passed on to Greg Abbott, well, it will be more of the same, if not worse.

Houston’s Meet Up to Stand Up

Senator Sylvia Garcia Speaks to Meet Up Crowd.

After over 5,000 rallied in support of women’s rights in Austin yesterday, a couple to few hundred more gathered at Houston’s Hughes Hanger on Washington to continue the day’s activities and stay focused on the cause.

Along with getting to see some of my favorite Democratic and pro-choice friends, it seemed every corner of the place was filled with discussion centered on what was next–with the bills, with 2014, and the future. And I also got lucky and heard a first-hand account of the Austin rally from an activist who made both events. No doubt, there was a lot of energy in the crowd.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia headlined, along with Planned Parenthood CEO Melaney Linton. Garcia reminded us that while the fight is currently in Austin, that it will not stop there. Whether it goes to the courts or, ultimately, to the ballot box, it must continue.

That said, thanks to the Senator and the Harris Democrats for sponsoring and organizing a bus to today’s House State Affairs Committee hearing in Austin. If you’re in Austin, do attend. It begins at 3:30pm. 

Sidenote:  And while I did see a good contingent of Latinas at the event, I was disappointed that more Latinos didn’t show. No tengan miedo!  Also, it was great to see Mayor Annise Parker showing her support, as well as At-Large 3 candidates Jenifer Rene Pool and Rogene Gee Calvert.

Now, We Have SB1

According to State Senator Jose Rodriguez (D) El Paso, Senate Bill 1, the companion bill to House Bill 2, has now been filed as the omnibus anti-choice bill by Hegar and co-authored by Estes and Williams for the 2nd Special Session.

S.B. 1 would ban abortions after 20 weeks, which is contrary to past rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, and therefore, likely unconstitutional. In addition, the bill requires health clinics that perform abortions to be certified as ambulatory surgery centers. Doctors’ groups and others have deemed these additional building requirements medically unnecessary and extremely costly to implement; it would force closure of all but five of the 42 clinics that perform abortions in Texas, including the two clinics in El Paso.

Other provisions of S.B. 1 substitute political judgment for evidence-based, best medical practices regarding the use of a pill for a medical abortion and place other unnecessary restrictions on doctors and intrude on the doctor-patient relationship. In essence, if passed, S.B. 1 would make it extraordinarily difficult for a woman to have access to a legal, safe abortion in this state.

The arguments for and against will be similar; the difference is the time available for the right-wing to pass it. According to Rodriguez:

At the end of the last special session, the leadership chose to prioritize their narrow ideological agenda rather than pass transportation and criminal justice legislation that had overwhelming bipartisan support. The record clearly shows that Senate leadership sacrificed Senate traditions and twisted the rules — including a possible attempt to alter a government document — to pass a bill that ultimately endangers women’s health.

Now, they want a “do over.” But, the fact remains that this legislation is still as bad for women as it was last week. Along with the thousands of Texans who have made their voices heard, we will continue to do everything we can to fight this assault on Texas women.

So, here we go.

SB5 Is Now HB2 and SB9 [Special Session 2]

As Cryptic Philosopher reminds us, the rallying cry for defenders of women’s rights no longer will include “#sb5″ in any of the communications regarding the 2nd Special Session called by Rick Perry. A new session brings us new bill filings and designations, so, now, we are looking at HB2 and SB9.

While SB9 targets “abortion-inducing pills” prescribed by physicians, HB2 looks more like the bill that came up in the Senate and was cause for the successful protest that smacked it down. In other words, HB2 resubmits banning abortion procedures at 20 weeks; dispensing of “abortion-inducing pills”; the change in medical standard (without much medical evidence of such need) that would result in the closing of 80% of abortion-providing clinics around the state of Texas; as well as  a requirement that physicians have admitting privileges at hospitals located within a 30 mile radius of their clinics.

Rick Perry’s special session is about republican primary politics and about a full-fledged war on Texas women. Every part of this bill targets the reproductive rights of all types of Texan women; be it women, in general, poor women, minority women, women from rural areas of Texas, etc. If Rick Perry and the Republicans were interested in the health care or “safety” of women, they would support an expansion of Medicaid, but they do not. Every part of this bill is based on politics–not on professional medical opinion–as was being announced by State Senator Wendy Davis and her Democratic colleagues during the filibuster.

One more nugget of information to the “anti-” folks; some who trolled my Facebook page the other day. This bill does not ban abortion. Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land. Simply closing down clinics will not end abortion, but it will mean unsafe and dangerous back-alley abortions for those who do not have access. If any of the “anti-” folks can live with this in their “Christian” conscience or simply say it’s “punishment for sins,” then their hypocrisy and disdain for women will only be more evident. And every attempt must be made to defeat them and these horrific bills.

Now, are the odds against the Texas Women defending against Rick Perry’s misogyny? Well, awful redistricting and lack of energy from voters during non-Presidential elections can be blamed for that. The Supreme Court of the United States is even lending them a hand in that regard with the recent Voting Rights Act decision. But if it serves as a catalyst to finally trek toward defeating Rick Perry and his right-wing minions, then it is safe to say we are on the right track. Once this battle is done within the next 30 days, it becomes about expanding this movement’s reach, utilizing all of the issues stances which make the Democratic Party the one to support. Better to begin now than 2 weeks before election day, right?

Can’t Make It To Austin on Monday? [EVENT]

Yeah, I can’t make it on Monday. But there will be a Meet Up to Stand Up compliments of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast right here in Houston.

Can’t make it to Austin? Meet Up to Stand Up with fellow supporters in Houston at Hughes Hangar, 2811 Washington Ave,  Houston, TX 77007. We invite you to come out to find out more about what we’re expecting in the 2nd Special Session and how you can take ACTION.  Stand with Texas Women t-shirts will be available for purchase.  Cash bar.  (RSVP Here).  Free Stand with TX Women t-shirts for the first 25 attendees!

And, also…

The special session could last for 30 days and we will need you every step of the way – take action from home. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get frequent updates. We need to reach as many strong women and men across this state, please take a minute to forward this to your friends.

Perry and Dewhurst Will Continue Attack on Texas Women

As was expected, after Democrats defeated a bill to limit access to women’s health care and abortions in Texas, Rick Perry has called for a 2nd special session that will deal with “abortion restrictions,” as well as transportation and juvenile justice.

David Dewhurst showed his lack of leadership as president of the State Senate by  making and allowing some bad calls against State Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster. After 11 hours, a final “violation” was sustained and stopped Davis’ filibuster. After a challenge by State Sen. Kirk Watson, and with the help of Senators Van de Putte, Royce West and a loud crowd of activists in gallery, the debate was extended enough that Senators finally voted on SB 5 at 12:03 AM, after the deadline.

An empowered group of activists will likely grow and be ready for the July 1st Special Session. Will Dewhurst be ready to follow his own rules on July 1st? Or will he continue on a disastrous trek of embarrassing the state of Texas by allowing the re-writing of rules and changing time-stamps on final vote outcomes? Of course, all of this is reflective of Perry’s lack of leadership, too.

One thing is for sure, I’m sure there will be multiple UStream accounts and video cameras around the Capitol to make sure the world is watching again. And the Twitterverse will definitely be blasting away. All Perry and Dewhurst need to do now is ban them. Boy, wouldn’t that be smart?

Kuff has a major recap.

It Gets Better ~ A Message from the Texas Lege [VIDEOS}

Here are some positive messages from members of the Texas Lege who are fighting for what’s right and against bullying.

Part I

Part II

House Redistricting Committee Coming to Houston

Folks in the Houston area have one more opportunity to make their voices heard. The Senate Redistricting Committee visited Houston on Saturday, and Greg has more on that one.

Here is the location for this week’s House hearing:

House Redistricting Hearing
HOUSTON
Wednesday, June 12th
2 p.m.
University of Houston
Michael J. Cemo Hall, Room 100 D
4800 Calhoun Rd., Houston, TX 77004