Lack of diversity on state finance board prompts outcry from leaders of color
- For the first time in some three decades, the Legislative Budget Board will have no person of color serving on the board.
- Latino and black advocates—including lawmakers, organizers, and community leaders—spoke out against the all-white make-up of the committee given the stakes of financing in a state as large and demographically diverse as Texas.
- A permanent committee of the Texas Legislature, the board sets financial priorities for the state, offering budget requests and recommendations for appropriations and evaluating the performance of state and local operations.
“Black, Latino groups calling for diversity in Texas Legislature” (KXAN | January 2017)
Legislative Budget Board (Texas Legislature)
Tribpedia: Legislative Budget Board (The Texas Tribune)
The 85th Texas Legislature
Now entering its first session, the 85th Texas Legislature is, like its predecessors, a portrait of skewed representation in an increasingly diverse state. Despite being majority-minority and—by a hair—majority-female, Texas lawmakers continue to be predominantly white and male, with only fractions of percentage points representing incremental change towards a more representative legislature. Women in particular continue to be vastly underrepresented in the Legislature, verging on crisis as the state works to dismantle reproductive rights and other women’s health issues.
50.4% (state) vs. 20.4% (Legislature)
Women in Legislature by Party Affiliation (2017)
34.8% (Democrats) vs. 12.2% (Republicans)
Female Legislators (2017 vs. 2015)
20.4% vs. 20.2%
People of Color (2017)
57.5% (state demographics) vs. 35.9% (Legislature demographics)
People of Color in Legislature by Party Affiliation (2017)
90.9% (Democrats) vs. 4.3% (Republicans)
Legislators of Color (2017 vs. 2015)
35.9% vs. 35.4%
(Image Credit: Todd Wiseman/The Texas Tribune)
Anti-trans “bathroom bill” officially filed
- Senate Bill 6 (a.k.a. the “Texas Privacy Act”) will force trans and intersex individuals to use the bathrooms associated with their “biological sex” when in government buildings, public universities, and public schools.
- Sponsored by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, the bill defines “biological sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is stated on a person ’s birth certificate,” which, in additional to being unreflective of scientific reality, discriminates against intersex and other non-cisgender communities.
- The bill also pre-empts local nondiscrimination ordinances from providing local protections and subjects violating institutions to financial penalty, though it exempts private entities leasing public buildings such as stadiums, convention centers, and entertainment venues.
Senate Bill 6
All-Texas News | Trans Women (Project Solidaire | December 2016)
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.
Application and Memorandum of Law in Support Thereof for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Planned Parenthood v. Smith)
“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)
“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)
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Planned Parenthood South Texas
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
(Image Credit: via The Texas Tribune)
White male attorney sues State Bar of Texas for policy securing diversity on the bar’s board
- The Austin-based attorney filed suit against members of the board accepting applications for an open position reserved for underrepresented groups, alleging that his inability to apply for the position reserved for women and racial minorities is discriminatory.
- The bar’s board of directors includes 30 members elected by lawyers, six appointed by the Texas Supreme Court, and four directors appointed by the president of the bar who are “female, African-American, Hispanic-American, Native American or Asian-American.”
- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in support of ending the quota, which was set by state law in 1991.
“Ken Paxton backs legal attack on state bar’s minority policy” (The Austin American-Statesman)
“Paxton files amicus brief accusing State Bar of Texas of discrimination” (KVUE)
“White Attorney Sues State Bar of Texas for Discrimination” (The Dallas Observer)
State Bar of Texas Board Members