Hot List Day 106

Day 106 of the 82nd Texas Legislature

“We’ve got all kinds of little goodies, all kinds of tax breaks, and we are going to suspend the sales tax holiday that benefits the working class?”
State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, on last week’s proposal to eliminate the August sales tax holiday

Today, the House is prepared to debate HB 400, which would allows for reduced teacher pay and furloughing, among other changes to teacher contracts. Such legislation breaks with a state tradition of protecting teacher employment negotiations. Could it prompt organizing or collective bargaining in a notoriously anti-union state?

There is no doubt that the climate is changing across the globe. Despite the indisputable evidence of that reality, Texas lawmakers have remained skeptics. While other states are adapting, Texas, “is standing by idly as entire ecosystems change.” 

State workers are ready to abandon their jobs if proposed budget cuts to their salaries and retirement are passed, according to a survey from the Texas Public Employee Association. As the Austin American-Statesman reports, the criminal justice system and child social service agency employees would be most affected, and fewer employees “would undermine the ability of state agencies to function effectively.” 

Senators are going to hit the ground running as they return from the Easter holiday. This week, they are scheduled to debate and vote on their version of the budget and the latest edition of the sonogram bill, not to mention a few other major bills. Meanwhile, the House will formally debate and vote on the infamous “puppy mill bill” and important education legislation today. 

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Alexa Garcia-Ditta is a staff writer (and former intern) covering women's health, reproductive health and health care access.