March 25, 2011
Legislative Update: Continuity of Prescription Drug Coverage
HB 1405 was unanimously passed out of the House Insurance Committee last week—a strong signal of support and an important step for the bill. Next up: the Calendars Committee.
This committee, consisting of 15 members of the House, reviews legislation before it advances to the floor for a vote before all the members of the Texas House of Representatives. The Calendars Committee determines when and if a bill advances through the legislative process.
We are closely monitoring this process—the variety of contentious issues in the Texas legislature means that when it comes to getting a bill to the floor, earlier is better.
Keep monitoring your email inbox for Action Alerts. When HB 1405 is sent out from the Calendars Committee and scheduled for a vote, we’ll need you to contact your legislators and ask for their support. Stay tuned!
Texas State Budget: Cuts Remain in Budget
The issue on the top of every legislator’s list is the State budget deficit. With cuts across the board, the state budget affects every Texan, including you! Here are some of the latest budget details from Austin:
- On Wednesday, HB 1, the House’s budget bill, was passed through the Appropriations Committee. The final vote was 18-7, and the bill will now proceed to the House Floor.
- The biggest cuts are to health & human services and education, including a 10% cut to Medicaid.
- The budget reductions & cuts total $23 billion for the next biennium (2012-2013).
For more on the budget battle, watch this video by the Texas Tribune on the recent actions by the Legislature.
The Senate has yet to take action on the budget. It's a long road ahead: many of the budget decisions are still to be made, and will most likely take place during conference committee meeting with members from both chambers.
Follow our MS Priority Bills using our Bill Tracker. Click here to download the document!
MS Activism = Staying Informed
It can be challenge to stay on top of the constant flow of information during the legislative session. Where can you go to find the latest news? Take a look at the following resources:
Texas Legislature Online: Look up a bill or learn about the legislative processand how a bill becomes a law—from start to finish.
First Reading: The Austin-American Statesman’s politics bureau chief, Jason Embry, provides a daily what’s-what in Texas politics.
The Texas Tribune: A non-profit, non-partisan online politics magazine. From budget battles and blogs to interviews and top tweets, you’ll find it here.
- Texas Politics: The Houston Chronicle blogs on politics, elections, and the Capitol.
Get to Know Your State Legislators
Legislators listen and are influenced by their constituents—you! The more they know about you (and the more you know about them), the more likely they are to be responsive when asked to take action on an issue that important to you.
Contacting legislators only when you want something isn’t enough; it’s important to create an ongoing relationship. Your relationship with your legislator puts a name, face, and story to issues that matter.
Get started! Who are your legislators? Where do they live? What issues matter to them most?
Here’s how to find out:
- Find out who represents you.
- Visit their legislative website.
- View their profile in the Texas Tribune’s Elected Officials Directory.
Have you seen our Flickr page? Visit MS Activist Texas on Flickr to view photos of MS Awareness Week activities, our Texas and Washington, D.C. policy conferences, and more! You can also upload your own photos to share with the MS activism community. You can also visit our Facebook page to share your experiences and photos.
Want to join our movement at the Texas Capitol?
Contact your Government Affairs Coordinator, Linnea Nasman, at (512) 340-2711 or at firstname.lastname@example.org