Category Archives: Class + Socioeconomics

South Texas News | Low-income People of Color

Federal housing agency finds Houston’s rejection of affordable housing project violated Civil Rights Act
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a report condemning Mayor Sylvester Turner’s rejection of a proposal for a mixed-income Galleria-area apartment complex.
  • The report outlined how the rejection of affordable housing in the integrated neighborhood was racially motivated and therefore in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1965.
  • The report also detailed corrective actions for the city to take, including developing formal anti-segregation policy for tax-credit housing and establishing a local fair housing commission to facilitate fair, integrated housing.
Coverage

All-Texas News | Low-income

Texas Democrats push bills to raise state minimum wage
  • HB 937 proposes to increase the hourly minimum wage in Texas from $7.25 to $10.10 over five years.
  • Several other bills have been filed to devolve minimum wage management to local governments or increase the minimum wage to $15, in line with some of the more ambitious proposals across the nation.
  • The minimum wage was last changed statewide in 2009, though recent polls indicate that more than half of Texans support raising it.
Read

House Bill 937

Coverage
Additional

Minimum Wage Workers in Texas — 2015 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

All-Texas News | Poor & Low-Income Women

Planned Parenthood asks court to block exclusion from Medicaid temporarily
  • Planned Parenthood requested an injunction or temporary restraining order from U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to prevent the Texas Health and Human Services Commission from cutting off Medicaid funding to the organization.
  • Medicaid funding provided Planned Parenthood with $4.2 million for fiscal year 2015 to support the healthcare and reproductive rights of nearly 11,000 low-income Texan women.
  • Officials cited a debunked video by anti-choice activists as reasoning for the exclusion despite multiple investigations having already cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and the preexisting prohibition on the use of federal funding for abortion services.

Read:
Application and Memorandum of Law in Support Thereof for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Planned Parenthood v. Smith)

Local coverage:
Planned Parenthood asks court to block ouster from Texas Medicaid” (The Austin American-Statesman | December 2016)
Texas officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid” (The Texas Tribune | December 2016)

National coverage:
Texas Makes New Move to Cut Off Planned Parenthood” (NBC News | December 2016)
Texas Moves To Block Planned Parenthood From Medicaid Funds” (NPR | December 2016)
Things to Know as Texas Tells Planned Parenthood Cuts Coming” (ABC News/The Associated Press | December 2016)
One Step Closer: Texas Republicans move to defund Planned Parenthood” (VICE News | December 2016)

Resources:
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Planned Parenthood South Texas
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes

(Image Credit: via The Texas Tribune)

All-Texas News | Poor & Working-Class Youth

Republican legislators look to do away with tuition set-aside programs in upcoming session
  • Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick indicated as a priority for 2017 ending programs that set aside tuition dollars for financial aid for low-income students at higher education institutions, arguing that the law is a “hidden tax” on wealthy and middle-class families.
  • Two such programs currently exist: one that began following the deregulation tuition in 2003 that required 15-20% of tuition increases to be set aside for aid, and another from 1975 requiring 15% of the first $50 charged per semester hour go to financial aid.
  • Democrats and experts have argued that ending the programs without a simultaneous investment of state funding (an estimated $345 million) would make higher education inaccessible for lower-middle and low-income students, disproportionately impacting black and Latino students and institutions.

Read:
Lt. Gov. Patrick favors scrapping key college financial aid program; many lawmakers unsure” (The Houston Chronicle)
How Dan Patrick’s plan to slash tuition grants could keep some Texans from college” (The Dallas Morning News, August 2016)
Lt. Gov. Patrick Slams Universities for Tuition Increases” (The Texas Tribune, April 2016)