April 8, 2011
This week was a big one in MS advocacy—from activists contacting their legislators to our legislative champions carrying our bills forward, together, we’re making great progress this session!
With Your Support, HB 1405 Passes the House!
Rep. Smithee laid out HB 1405 on the House floor this week and recognized the National MS Society for its efforts to “chip away at unfairness” in Texas insurance. This rare recognition during floor debate represents the efforts of hundreds of MS Activists over the years here in Texas. HB 1405 was passed unanimously by the Texas House and is now on its way to the Senate.
- Watch a video of Rep. Smithee talking about HB 1405 and the Society’s efforts—you will be inspired and reenergized to continue your activism on behalf of Texans living with MS!
- MS Activist Ann Everitt spent her Tuesday morning at the Texas Capitol reaching out to Representatives as they made their way onto the House floor. Ann shared her story with over 50 legislators as she asked them for their support for HB 1405. Thank you, Ann for being a leader in our movement to do something about MS now!
ACTION ALERT: Your notes to legislators made a difference in passing HB 1405. Thank your legislator NOW for supporting HB 1405. Click here to send a letter!
MS Activists Testify in Support of HB 3017
On Tuesday, Rep. Smithee laid out HB 3017, a bill to reinforce the ban on discretionary clauses instituted by the Texas Department of Insurance last fall. MS Activists David and Deborah Rankin testified in support of the bill, having experienced the damaging effects of a discretionary clauses first-hand. The Rankins brought this issue to the attention the Society’s team in Austin and led the efforts at the state to make sure that no other family endures this injustice.
Watch a video of Rep. Smithee laying out the bill and the Rankins sharing their story with the Insurance Committee. The Rankins are a powerful and inspirational duo and a great example of what MS Activists can achieve!
Discretionary clauses give insurance companies the authority to interpret the terms of their policies, effectively giving the companies the power to decide who gets paid and who doesn't. They also provide the legal cover to win most lawsuits in which policyholders sue over unpaid claims. TDI banned these clauses in December 2010.
OPIC Amendments Withdrawn from HB 1
GOOD NEWS! The amendments proposed by Rep. Isaac and Rep. Torres to eliminate funding for the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) were withdrawn from HB 1. Thank you to activists in their districts who shared important information about OPIC and asked their representative to reconsider these amendments.
- During the last year, the National MS Society has worked with OPIC on issues that are important to people living with MS. We are pleased that OPIC is no longer under direct threat of elimination and we’ll maintain our support for the agency’s continuation.
Texas State Budget Update
Budget debates and discussions continued in Austin this week.
The House passed their budget bill, cutting billions from health & human services, education, and more. From the Texas Tribune: House Budget Shrinks Spending, Slashes Services
- The Texas budget is now sent to the Senate, where legislators have been working on their own version of the budget bill. From the Austin American-Statesman: House OKs Spending Plan
Keep your eye on your inbox! We’ll be requesting more action from you in the upcoming weeks.
For more information on the priority issues in this email, please visit our website.
Follow our MS Priority Bills using our Bill Tracker. Click here to download the document!
Want to join our movement at the Texas Capitol? Your story can make a difference!
Contact your Government Affairs Coordinator, Linnea Nasman, at (512) 340-2711 or firstname.lastname@example.org