Tag Archives: News

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.
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House Bill 937

Coverage
Additional

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

All-Texas News | Women

New House bill looks to establish near-absolute ban on abortion in Texas
  • HB 948 (a.k.a. the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act) would criminalize abortion in all cases except for pregnancies that endanger the life of the mother.
  • The proposed bill would remove exemptions in the state penal code that protect women and abortion providers from felony homicide charges.
  • Legal experts view the bill, filed by Rep. Tony Tinderholt, as unconstitutional, though some anti-choice advocates seek the law’s passage in order to force appeals through to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.
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House Bill 948

Coverage

All-Texas News | People of Color

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.
Coverage

Black, Latino groups calling for diversity in Texas Legislature” (KXAN | January 2017)

Resources

Legislative Budget Board (Texas Legislature)
Tribpedia: Legislative Budget Board (The Texas Tribune)

South Texas News | Black

New digital TV channel focused on black-centered programming set to launch in Houston
  • HTX Digital Channel 43.3 will build a schedule focused on black culture and entertainment.
  • Slated programming includes a show called “Soul of the South” and one featuring former Texas Tech basketball coach Chris Walker.
  • The new station is set to launch on February 20 and will broadcast to more than 500,000 Houston-area households.
Coverage

New Houston TV channel to feature African-American entertainment” (The Houston Chronicle | January 2017)

(Image Credit: Charlie Riedel/Associated Press, via The Houston Chronicle)

All-Texas News | Mental Illness

New House report calls for increase in mental health resources across state
  • The report by the Texas House Select Committee on Mental Health warned that current resource levels are inadequate to support mental health initiatives across areas like education, healthcare, and criminal justice.
  • The cost of the effects of insufficient mental health resources—both financial and human—is expected to climb as the state continues to grow, and the state has begun to focus on behavioral healthcare reform to confront those costs.
  • Recommendations include increasing the use of telemedicine, increasing resources to jail diversion programs, rural healthcare reform, increasing the rate of hospital construction, healthcare-practitioner education incentivization, and increasing access to substance abuse counseling and other resources.
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Interim Report 2016: A Report to the House of Representatives 85th Texas Legislature

Coverage

(Image Credit: Marjorie Kamys Cotera/The Texas Tribune)

South Texas News | Latino/a/x

Federal judge rules against Pasadena in Latino voting rights case
  • Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ruled that an electoral change from eight to six voting districts for the Pasadena City Council with the addition of two seats voted on city-wide constituted an unconstitutional weakening of Latino Pasadenans’ voting power.
  • The dilution reflects the ethnic segregation of the city, where resources have historically been concentrated in the predominantly white south versus the predominantly Latino north.
  • Expected to be appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the case is seen as a test to the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding contemporary enforcement of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 widely viewed as weakening the voting rights of minorities nationwide.
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MALDEF v. City of Pasadena

Coverage

(Image Credit: The Houston Chronicle)